How to Bake Christmas Cookies like a 50’s Housewife

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Have you always dreamed about baking Christmas cookies like a 50’s housewife? I have dreamed about doing many things like these amazing women of the past. But I admit I have never come close to the perfection I have seen in photographs and on television. Even if the food comes out delicious, I never look like they do during the process,

vintage kitchen baking
Women Baking Christmas Cookies in the 50s

Something happens to women at this time of year. Do you feel it yet?  Have you already felt yourself tempted to call off work for important things like decorating, cleaning, shopping or baking Christmas cookies. Something about this time of year seems to draw a straight line from the heart to the head when it comes to nesting and nurturing. Even if it is something we are not good at, it all seems to go on our to do list. And for me, that’s my fun to do list!

Last week we watched A Christmas Carol with Jim Carey. It was perfect, we even had home-made sugar cookies with little Christmas Tree’s next to our freshly decorated tree.

Truth… They were Pillsbury slice and bake, except we didn’t even have to slice, they were pull apart. We all got to be together and they were gone quick.  We will still bake real home-made Christmas cookies this year. When we were first married almost 21 years ago, my mother in law gave us a book called Joy of Cooking, and the go to recipe each year is for:

 

Rich Roll Cookies
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cream: 1 cup butter, 2/3 cup sugar.
  • Beat in: 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  • Combine and add: 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
  • Chill dough 3 to 4 hours before rolling.

Not everyone has the time to bake like a 1950’s housewife, but here is a guide to some of the vintage things you might need or want to do the best you can and make memories in the process, which is the real desire behind it all.

Of course you need an apron to protect your lovely, sensible dress.

A sturdy rolling pin, a flour sifter, cookie cutters, cookie press and baking sheet are all a must.

Don’t forget extra sprinkles and decorating tips.

And in case you only get as far as the grocery store for already baked cookies, remember presentation is everything. You can put the premade cookies on a vintage cookie tray or in a beautiful Christmas tin from the past.

A 50’s housewife always gets it done, one way or the other.

And may I add? A glass of wine, You deserve it and your 50’s husband is probably on his 2nd scotch already anyway.

Bake like a 1950's Housewife
Baking Christmas Cookie s

 

 

What are your favorite or must bake Christmas cookies each year?

We always make rich roll sugar cookies, ginger snaps (Robert E. Lee’s family recipe), snowballs and peanut butter blossoms. We have tried other recipes over the years but these are the must have’s for our family.

Sugar Cookie tips:

When we make sugar cookies, one of the things I learned early on was to try to roll the dough as even a thickness as possible.
Also, it’s important to let the dough chill completely.
And don’t be afraid to flour your surface and your rolling-pin, otherwise you will end up eating more dough than cookie.
I still enjoy them more when someone else bakes them and cleans. But, part of the experience I look forward to is getting all of the cookie cutters out. Two of the cutters I love the most are my grandma’s. One cutter is a tree and the other a bell. They remind me of my childhood. And they don’t break easily like some of the trickier ones like snowflakes.
Here are 2 additional vintage books for Christmas baking and cooking:
Baking Christmas Cookies vintage cookbook
The Christmas Cookie Book
christmas cookies
Vintage 12 Days of Christmas Cookbook

 

80s Flash Back

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We love to watch The Voice with our daughter who is a singer. She was in her first musical this month called, “Emma;” all pop songs, many from the 80’s. And she had a solo, “Girl’s Just Wanna Have Fun,” by Cyndi Lauper.  This was an 80s Flash Back for me.  Her performance was one to be proud of.  Unlike the “dance routine” me and my bff did to the same song when we were in 5th grade. Our’s  was ridiculous and included forward rolls on a matt. That’ something to LOL about.

Back to, The Voice, I have been loving and getting so excited with the funky way out fashion that Miley and Alicia have been wearing. Lots of prints, bigger hair and this past week even a jumpsuit – Another 80s Flash Back Alert!

So, when we went to the city to shop this past weekend, and Ruby found a little leather jacket that she loved, I was thrilled. The 80’s has made a return. We were in Aeropostale where she found the jacket. And a couple of doors down in Charlotte Russe was an adorable pink, letterman style jacket (I secretly wanted for myself)

Flash Back Alert

 

 

Ironically on the way to the mall, she had asked me, why people like vintage? I can see why she finds it silly and weird. She sees me constantly bringing Old stuff home, carrying it upstairs to my office, taking photos of it, taking it back down to store and then bringing it back up to pack. It seems  insane to her. She is 13.

To her question, I could have come up with a lot of reasons, but the first thing that came to my mind and out of my mouth really rings the truest to my heart. I told her many people love vintage because when they see something from their own childhood or younger days, it brings back memories and if they were good memories, a time where they still felt invicible and felt like anything was possible and that those things  could bring back those feeling again.

And it’s so true. Finding authentic vintage that is from my younger days makes me smile and drums up so many thoughts of people, moments and feelings. And being a GIRL, of course the fashion was a huge part of how I expressed myself and so it gives me a huge energy charge now as a mom, who works from home with a great life, but is much less glamorous than I thought I would be when I sported pump heels in every color back in the day.

I posted on the 80’s before but today I had to give a little round up that is a mix of Authentic Vintage – an 80s Flash Back and the new stuff available in stores now. I think it would be really fun to combine the two. When possible, true vintage is the best, IMO. The accessories included are all true vintage. Check them out.

80s Flash Back
Cyndi Lauper 80’s Girls Just Wanna Have fun on Vinyl

How do you Warm it Up in Autumn?

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How do you like to Warm Up in Autumn?

orange white pumpkin photo
Pumpkin Patch Photography

 

I know some people who will hold out until the first snow to turn their heaters on. To my surprise, our’s already fired up once. We have it set to 68. And, I didn’t turn it off.

I like to embrace the morning chill with warm cozy socks and big sweaters and boots. Snuggling under the covers to keep warm just a little longer always feels good, unless it makes you late!

Drinking  hot beverages from favorite mugs makes the season even more special.  I also seem to be more inspired to look up recipes and cook. Crock pot recipes always appeal to me in the fall.

Homemade Hot Apple Cider
Warm up with Homemade Apple Cider
Warm Rust Beret
Chunky Knit Hat

 

A huge part of what makes the fall special is the warm colors

 

Multi Strand Necklace
Multi Strand Necklace

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In September the colors are bright but now through winter, I am drawn more to the muted colors of the leaves that have fallen and are now crunchy on the ground. Colors like Burnt Sienna, Potter’s Clay or traditional Rust represent the leaves that are past their peak and a premonition of the bareness that is soon upon us.

Country Pumpkin Photo
Country Pumpkin Photo

 

 

We enjoy going to the pumpkin patch, finding our way through corn mazes (the older our kids get, the harder the mazes get), buying fresh picked apples, raking big piles of leaves to take pictures in. We also like to go bike riding on rails to trails where the leaves are covering the ground. What are some of your end of autumn favorites?

Warm Sienna
Hand Painted Silk Scarf

 

 

 

If you love to invest in permanent pieces and the warmth of fall color appeals to you all year long, here are so ideas to incorporate it.

Burnt Sienna, Warm Rust
Hand Thrown Ceramic Vessels, Autumn Colors
Warm Fall Colors 1960s Home
Vintage Glass Enamel Ashtray

I would LOVE it if you would subscribe to my blog.  Comments and share’s make me happy too.

 

PA Wilds Art Invitational at Lynn Hall

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Exploring the PA Wilds

Are you planning to enjoy the majestic fall foliage in Pennsylvania? Your timing is perfect. This weekend on the outskirts of God’s Country, there is a great bonus for the traveler.

The first PA Wilds Art Invitational at Historic Lynn Hall is having an artist’s opening on Saturday October 8th from 12-6. There will be over 15 fine artists displaying their works.

By Molly O'Bryon-Welpott MollysMuses
Lynn Hall

I am blessed to be included and  have selected 3 fall themed images to hang in the space. This invitational art show is made up of PA Wilds Juried Artisans and is being curated by Samila Sosic and Stephanie Distler.

Fall foliage by Molly O'Bryon-Welpott
Autumn Leaves – MollysMuses

 

 

If you enjoy architecture and seeing life breathed into the past, you will be stopped in your tracks before entering to see the artwork. Because Lynn Hall is worthy of a stop on its own.

Lynn Hall, built-in the 1930’s is an architectural marvel which brings Falling Waters to the front of most passerby’s minds.  This amazing space was not designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, but by another talented designer, Walter Hall. There is a connection between the 2 buildings though. Because of the beautiful work done on Lynn Hall, Walter Hall and a select crew were chosen to build Falling Waters; Lynn Hall came first.

Lynn Hall Restoration Project
Original Watercolor Designs of Lynn Hall

This unique piece of history has been vacant for 25 years, but 26 months ago Gary and Sue DeVore purchased the home and have been working hard to bring it back to its glory. It is still under renovation.

The PA Wilds Art Invitational is a chance for the public to come in and explore the building while enjoying artwork from area.

In addition to the fine arts that will be displayed on the wall, there is an artisan market from 12-6 with all types of arts and hand crafted works including pottery, soaps and jewelry.

Here are some samples of the artist’s that will be there. But to see them all you really must come join in.

PA Wilds Artisans:

Valente Farm - Samila Sosic
Valente Farn – Samila Sosic
Handmade Goats Milk Soap - The Muddy Moose
Handmade Goats Milk Soap – The Muddy Moose
PA Wilds artisan
Wander Copper Bracelet – Stephanie Distler
PA Wilds Artisan
Country Sunrise – BERNADETTE CHIARAMONTE BROWN

Taste of Oktoberfest

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The hot days are over, the days are shorter, it’s time for sweaters and boots. Whose ready for Oktoberfest?

When I was a senior in high school in Daytona Beach, Fl; I had the opportunity to waitress at Bernkastel Festhaus. I loved that job. Right on the beach, if you were serving outside you could watch the waves crashing and if you were inside you could smell the delicious food cooking and the delicious beer on tap.

It was an experience even for the locals who popped in for a deli sandwich. There was a couple who kept their glass boot mugs in the fridge for when they wanted a frosty brew. The beer  was served in pints, half yard and yard glasses! It was awesome. And during spring break, it was like Oktoberfest had come to Daytona.

Sam Adams brilliantly figured out the tastes of beer and it’s seasons, at least for my palate. In the summer, for me, it’s great to have something amber and cold. But in the fall, when the air is crispy, a dark beer is wonderful.  My favorite beer on tap at  Bernkastel’s was, Hacker-Pschorr –  Oktoberfest.

And if you look at pictures in Germany during Oktoberfest, it seems to be a timeless tradition, classic images that could have been taken today or 30 years ago. I thought it would be fun to put a little vintage Oktoberfest collection together. Our leaves have just started to change here in Pennsylvania, they are blowing and chilly so I am thinking a hot pretzel with mustard and a beer would be great tonight next to the fire.

oktoberfest
Vintage Oktoberfest

Do you celebrate Oktoberfest or have a favorite memory or tradition? Would love to hear it in the comments.

Are You Feeling Hot Hot Hot

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What do you do when a friend brings you a basketful of red-hot cayenne peppers? Don’t worry, this is not a hot pepper challenge post!

My heart was so full of joy. What a generous gift, grown with love and hand-picked off the vine. I didn’t want to let any of them go to waste.  Immediately inspired by their shape, color and texture, I could hardly wait for the next morning’s natural light to make some photographs.

I have always been deeply inspired by the Old Master photographer’s of the past. Especially the brilliant work of Edward Weston. This is one of his most famous pepper images.

pepper photography
Master Photographer Edward Weston’s Pepper #30

But, Mr. Weston was not consciously on my mind while I was shooting them and there is a stark contrast in our visions and sense of humor. And he was, well, Edward Weston. Sensual, moody and dark.

Instead, silly songs with HOT lyric’s from my past started playing in my head.

Songs like:

“Feeling Hot hot hot, ole ole… ole ole, ” Or the 80’s song, “Some like it Hot,” Even the Cure had a song, ” Hot Hot Hot.” These bright red beauties just make me feel happy. I enjoy bright colors in my kitchen.

hot cayenne pepper decor
Cayenne Pepper Kitchen Photography

What do you think of when you see a picture of a pepper or hear,  “hot pepper?” I think of Mexican food, salsa and chips, comfort food like chile and football game appetizers. But one thing all of these things have in common are Good times with Good Friends and Family. Most people don’t sit down to a spicy queso dip alone.

People have been using peppers to decorate their space’s for years. Here is a tiny collection of retro – vintage items I found to spice up your kitchen and your next party.

cayennepepperdecor
HOT Cayenne Pepper Vintage Items

What did I do with the cayenne peppers after I photographed them? I went online and learned how to dry them. They are still in the process and then we will have red-hot pepper flakes for cooking this fall and winter.  I found this guy, Pepper Joe charming and easy to learn from.

 

Basketball Art Photography on Survivor’s Remorse

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The 2016 Olympics ended last night and it was as clear as ever;  athleticism, sports and competition are a universal language. It’s an awesome thing to see people who live ocean’s apart, that many times cannot even have a verbal conversation, step onto a field, into an arena or onto a court and celebrate life through their sport.

But how does this work out in a day-to-day life and on a smaller level? And how about a specific sport?  Basketball.  Big city, small town, indoors or outside, hoop on garage or foam hoop on the back of a bedroom door; If someone loves basketball and see’s a ball and hoop they are going to pick it up and play. All alone, one on one, pick up games, at the high school or professionally.

So I was pleasantly surprised early last winter when I was contacted by a set designer from the STARZ network to purchase a print of a photograph I made in a very small town, (population 1200) “Fall on the Court,” to use on a much-loved t.v. series,  Survivor’s Remorse. The people in this show: successful, beautiful, wealthy and living a much faster paced life. But the photograph speaks across the board because of the love for basketball.

Survivors Remorse Season 3
Basketball Art Photography by MollysMuses

Not rich and famous? That’s okay. You can still have the look.  You can purchase it directly from the artist, me.

My inspiration behind this photograph was the design on the basketball court, the colors, textures and the leaves that had landed from the fall trees.

basketball decor photo
Basketball Art Photography by MollysMuses

And if you are decorating a space with a sports or basketball decor theme, here are some other prints you might enjoy:

 

Basketball Decor
Fine Art Basketball Photography Prints by MollysMuses

The photographs above include neighborhood basketball courts, old rustic hoops and the one with the yellow backboard is in Haiti. Island basketball? Once again,  Yes, everywhere.

If you are a basketball lover I would love to hear your favorite memory or place to play.

 

 

Sharkskin with Spicy Mustard

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Sharkskin and Spicy Mustard. It sounds like a menu item from a restaurant in an exotic foreign land. But it’s not. Not here anyway. Do  you look forward to Pantone’s seasonal color collections?  Or wait  to find out what will be hailed the color of the year? For the past few years I have enjoyed watching this seasonal color forecast.

Thew newest Pantone Colors for Fall 2016 are out. And when I looked at the set of 10 colors, 2 stuck out to me right away, Sharkskin and Spicy Mustard.

 

Fall 2016 Trends
Pantone Sharkskin and Spicy Mustard

 

Think of the colors on the Pantone strip as a starting point for inspiration. According to the Pantone site, Sharkskin or Gray gives us a feeling of stability and Spicy Mustard or Yellows, suggest a touch of the exotic.

Here are 2 collections I enjoyed putting together using Sharkskin with a side of Spice Mustard.

First for the Home Decor side:

Pantones Sharkskin with Spicy Mustard

And Next I played with the colors for the Fall Fashion Side:
Fashion in Spicy Mustard and Sharkskin


I have to say I am sort of in love with the sharkskin color Giorgio Armani blouse up in the corner, that with a backpack and sunglasses and I could take off in style for the weekend.
I am not much a of a trend follower when it comes to decorating my home, but I enjoy seeing what I already have that maybe has been put away or is not front and center and bringing it out in a new way. So sometimes just adding a pop of the newest trendy color can make a room feel fresh.  If you want to go all out, you can get the newest hot paint color and do a piece of furniture, an accent wall or get completely into it and paint the whole room. Upholstering a piece of furniture in a new fresh color pallet is also an option.
DIY Make a Sofa Wrap
What are you favorite color combinations from Pantone’s new Fall Collection? I would love to hear it in the comments or on my Facebook or Twitter. I love inspirational chatter;)

 

Vintage Back to School Shopping

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As I prepare for back to school shopping plans with my kids, I’ve had a few daydreams about my own back to school shopping. It would now be, “vintage back to school shopping.”

A fun guide for 80’s back to school:

When I was a small girl, I didn’t get excited about back to school clothes shopping. Instead I remember being super stoked about the school supplies. A new backpack, lunch box, crayons, a pencil case and new pencils. I still love going to the office supply store and looking at all of the cool pens, lined paper, highlighters and as a photographer, of course Sharpies.

Pac-Man Pencil Box Smurfs Lunch Box
1980s Vintage Back to School Supplies

 

 

When I started 7th grade things changed and it was all about the clothes, the shoes, the jewelry. Madonna and Cyndi Lauper were on par for what I wanted and I transformed from pullover collar shirts with pants (yuck) to skirts, nylons, heels and accessories from head to toe. Not the most practical thing in the world, but it made me feel good about myself. I try to allow my almost teen daughter to enjoy setting her own style and showing her personality as well. And luckily  “pumps,” are not en vogue right now, they wouldn’t be good for the walk home from school.

This is a recap of an outfit I actually owned:

I still have the silver snake bracelet in my jewelry box.

 

super fashion style
80s Vintage Back To School

 

 

Trends change and people either adapt to the trends, form and shape their own unique style, or just don’t care about it either way. How do you define your personal style? Or are you still finding your own style?  I think finding and defining a style that makes you happy,  is one of  coolest things that can happen.

And now as my kids are preparing for their personal style, I think I will try to get out of my “rut” which has been jeans, jeans and more jeans!  BTW I don’t own a pair of mom jeans.

Do you remember a back to school time when you showed your personal style? Was it a trend or something you came up with? I would love for you to share and a picture would be welcome too.

Twist of Faith – Story of “Auntie” Anne’s Pretzels

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The book “Twist of Faith,”  is the true story of Anne Beiler.  A woman of faith, you may recognize her by her nickname, “Auntie Anne.” She began her business career with a very small farmer’s market stand that grew into an empire, blessing 850 franchise owners and employee’s with opportunity, not only throughout the country but eventually spreading across the world. Who would think with no more than an 8th grade education, that making a pretzels, something that is sold at every sporting event, skating rink and mall, usually bland, boring and predictable could turn into an empire.

Kitchen Twist Pretzel Print – Bokeh Ever After

If you are anything like Anne Beiler and trust in God to provide and make your way, then you would have believed it as well. I do my best to trust in God at every step in my life, but I have to say with all of the challenge, bumps and turns that were put in her family’s path throughout the years; I wonder if I would have had steadfast faith to bring it to God’s full plan of fruition. Perhaps that’s why many of us don’t ever experience the full harvest, because we give up before it has a time to reach the full blessing God had planned for us. How many times do we say, “Yes God.” And then the first time something uncomfortable happens, we say, “Maybe this wasn’t really God’s plan.” We are just taking the easy way out, but in the end robbing ourselves of the prize.

Anne was born into a Mennonite family and her husband a traditional Amish family in Pennsylvania. They met under sweet circumstances and started a family, living near family and doing okay financially. But the tragic loss of a child brought her to a breaking point. They ended up a 1000 miles away from their faith-based community and it was there that a man told them he believed God had something in store for her that she could not even dream up. He was right.

Amish Mennonite Photography
Amish Horse Buggy – Randy Nyhof

Whoever said, “you can’t go home,” was wrong. Anne and her family did go back home and the story of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels was set into motion.

Anne is so transparent in this story of self, including some of her darkest and weakest moments. The journey to the top with “Auntie Anne’s Pretzels,” was anything but smooth. Just because success is brewing for a person of faith does not mean we can walk without stumbling. Even in the midst of a blessing we can and do make mistakes.  Anne’s story shows that by continuing to turn to God, God is always faithful. He forgives, he continues to bless and follow through with his plan, even when we seem to be sabotaging it. We cannot outdo God. No matter how badly we feel about ourselves, how much we sin, how much we doubt; He is there. He is always there and will always be there, waiting for us to turn back into his arms. I remember hearing our pastor, Dave Bish, who passed away on my birthday this year, say one time, you can take a hundred steps away from the Lord, but it only takes One step back. (he said it something like that:)

pretzel art
You Tie My Heart in Knots – Jesiiii

Loss, depression, anger are all 3 things that can paralyze a person emotionally, spiritually and physically. With love and forgiveness, we can heal. This story is a story of love and faith and forgiveness. This book doesn’t just touch on these 3 things, it brings them into the light where they can be thought about and talked about.

This book is for any woman who has suffered any of these and for anyone who has a dream, the spirit of an entrepreneur and faith.  I believe Anne would tell you, she didn’t do it alone.  She was surrounded by a loving and faithful husband and family and friends from beginning to present; People that could steer her in the right direction when she needed it. To me that’s something everyone needs. We can have a 1000 friends or acquaintance that are “there for us.” But if they don’t share our values and our mission, they could steer us off our path even with good intentions.

Twist Pretzel Earrings Little Foodies Jewelry

Keep your head held high and keep moving in the direction of your dream. Anything is possible with God.

Win My Copy of the book by going over to my facebook page and following the steps. And a get a BONUS entry by commenting here on the blog.

If you don’t have an Auntie Anne’s Pretzels near you, you can try this copycat recipe. But after reading this book and ironically heading east to the King of Prussia Mall tomorrow, I will be stopping in to have a hot one served to me with sugar. I cannot wait. I love to support small business.

Twist Pretzel Recipe