Goulash or Galoshes

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Goulash or Galoshes? Have you had either?  I’ve experienced both. To me, the only thing they have in common is the fun swishy sound they make when the words come off the tongue.

Goulash is something my mom cooked often for us growing up. I like it best on chilly nights. It is a comfort food that can go a long way, is affordable and is also a great dish to take to a family in need of a meal. I will share a recipe at the bottom. But this post is about the other swish – the one made with rubber and not noodles.

As a child in the 70’s, I remember one pair of galoshes. They were a kid friendly color, although I can’t remember which one. There was a fun stretchy band that hooked the front closed. We live in Pennsylvania and so I honestly can’t remember if I was wearing them in the spring for rain, or if we were keeping my shoes dry in the snow.

Recently a favorite shopping spot for me, the Nomadic Trading Company, which is actually a large warehouse with antiques, vintage items and salvaged pieces brought in hundreds of pairs of vintage, new in the box Shoes. I bought a few pair for fun to add to my vintage shop. But the pair that caught my eye were called Rubbers! I had never heard that term for shoes and had never seen shoe rubbers that were so styled.

And so, here is my little collection of these shoe covers through out the years.

1940's Galoshes

 

 

1960's Galoshes1940’s Galoshes by mollysmuses featuring black strap shoes
So now you know how you can slick up your rainy day fashion with new or vintage galoshes, over shoes, rain boots or rubbers.
And as promised… a goulash recipe. This recipe is very similar to mine, however, I do not add the canned tomatoes and I add bell pepper.
American Goulash

 

Onion Snow – What’s That?

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Looking out my window yesterday, there was no doubt how the expression, “April showers bring May flowers,” came about.  But there is another expression that you may not be privy to if you have never lived in Pennsylvania.   “Onion Snow,” is a term created by the Pennsylvania Dutch. This sounds like something from Shrek, but it actually dates back to the earliest Farmers Almanac’s. And it is true to its name.

Onion Snow

The birds were chirping and the crocus were popping. But today, SNOW and even a tiny burst of hail. I am sure there is a scientific reason why the onion snow is a good thing. Do the robin’s find humor in it?

I am thinking probably not. The photo below looks like winter, but the robin tells the story, it was spring!

onion snow spring bird
Robin on Snowy Branch Photograph by MollysMuses

We have had Easter’s where our the girls have been in pretty sundresses with spaghetti sleeves. And we have had egg hunts in snow boots. Perhaps this year it will be Easter dresses, since the onion snow is happening over Palm Sunday weekend.

The Triumphal Entry Jesus on Palm Sunday Painting

If there weren’t a reason for the snow to fall in the spring, it probably would not happen every year. So I looked to see what I could find. The onion snow is also referred to by the Dutch as, “sapling blenders.”

This late in spring snow is said to make the sap flow longer from the trees, giving is more syrup and deliciousness. Maybe this is a fair trade-off, it is only 1 onion snow per year. But who really knows which snow is the final? I am hoping today is “the” onion snow.

Looking some traditional ways to greet spring and Easter this year?

 

 

 

Pack a Punch with Pansies

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Sometimes the tiniest things pack the biggest punch. The Taco Bell Chihuahua,  Minions, Reaper Peppers and Sour Candy are just a few well-known power puncher’s that enter my mind.Little Things Pack a BIG Punch

 

But, how about something natural that packs just as big a punch, but in a more subtle way? Maybe even something that causes pause when seen and stir’s the heart when read about. There is such a thing and it is the pansy. Soon they will be popping up in stores, along sidewalks, in window boxes and inside beautiful pots. They are tiny, soft, delicate little flowers with brilliantly painted vivid colors of purple and yellow.
pansy flower
Hand Beaded Pansy Flower Brooch by: BeadifulByJill

What is it about these tiny but mighty little flowers? They are everywhere, not just in your flower garden or in a pot; they are in fashion, home decor and even in dessert.

 

Head To Toe Pansies


Pansies have been romanticized, written about and visualized for years. Margaret Mitchell, Nathaniel Hawthorne and even Shakespeare made reference to this lovely little flower. Master painters including Van Gogh and  Georgia O’Keeffe have had them sit as their subject. And we cannot forget Alice,  one of my all time favorite characters, as she danced around and sang “All in the Golden Afternoon.” Their very name means, “thought,” or “free thinker.”  And I love learning that about the pansy because it is now perfectly clear to me why Alice, while being in a huge flower garden, would be with them.

Now that pansy season is coming, how will you incorporate them into your lifestyle? Maybe you will keep your hands out of the dirt and invest in some wall art featuring their beautiful petals for a pop of color in your space, or deck yourself out from head to toe, with some of the fashion suggestions above. Those are all fun ideas. But if you do decide to grow some of these flowers, here are some things you can do with them,

Make and Bake some beautiful cookies and indulge in their blossoms:

pansy cookie recipe
Edible Pansies Cookie

Or make a gorgeous ice ring to bring to the next baby or bridal shower:

pansies flowers edible
Pansy Flower Ice Ring

Despite how awesome they are, pansies are easy to grow. They don’t cave easily to insect and bad soil. But you must remember to water them regularly. And at the end of the season, maybe save a few to press in a poetry book for someone else to discover years down the road.

pansies flower
Pressed Vintage Flowers

Ans P.S. if you hear someone call them Johnny Jump Ups, yep, that’s right to. Those are the wild sort.

March Madness Gift Guide

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March Madness, Sweet 16, Final Four or The Big Dance? If you feel like you are jumping through hoops to figure it all out; relax this all began in a more simple way than you might imagine.  “March Madness,” made it’s first appearance as a print article in Illinois when writer, Henry V. Porter, penned the term for a state-wide high school basketball tournament. He wrote: “A little March madness may complement and contribute to sanity and help keep society on an even keel.”  Three years later, he followed up with a poem, “Basketball Ides of March,” which read in part: “A sharp-shooting mite is king tonight/ The Madness of March is running.”

March Madness

 

In the 80’s these terms, including March Madness, once designated for a much smaller scale, grew up and developed a life of their own. And it continues to grow.

Why do I care? I don’t play basketball and I don’t even watch it on t.v.

But, when I was in 1st grade, I won my first blue ribbon. It was for shooting a basketball into a hoop on field day. That was a long time ago, 1979,  at Jupiter Christian School in Jupiter, Florida. Not just an accomplishment because I was a petite first grader who had never shot a hoop, but also because I was a little girl who had to wear a dress to just above the knee and panty-hose. I was pretty impressed with myself. I may even have that little ribbon somewhere in my parent’s attic.

march madness gift guide basketball
Vintage 70’s Basketball Patch by MagellansBellyStudio

And there you have the full extent of my love for the game.  BUT, for some reason over the years I have been inspired to make photographs of  local hoops and courts. There is something so beautiful and simple about a hoop hung onto a garage or standing alone at an old park where everything else is outdated or gone. A hoop and a ball lead to countless hours of entertainment for 1 person, a handful or even a dozen at a time, who come to  hang out and play.

Last year I was so surprised when the trendy basketball show, Survivor’s Remorse, chose my image, Fall on Court, for use on their season 3 set.  Because it was part of the show, I think it is a great addition to the March Madness gift guide.

Fall on Court Large Print by MollysMuses

 

 

Basketball Art Photography Prints

by MollysMuses

 

And since March Madness dates back to 1908, I thought the March Madness Gift Guide should sport some vintage basketball from over the years.

March Madness Gift Guide

 

Not a basketball player and want to be a little more, “In the know?” Go down to your local park and join a pick up game.

A basketball pick-up game is started with little or no planning. Players might be invited ahead of time, but passer’s by can also join in. The rules are not strict, the game is for fun. Usually there are no referees, they are less structured and for “FUN.”

If You Give the Pig a Day

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Happy Pig Day!  While in kindergarten, our  bus driver stopped at his farm on the way to school and allowed us to see the baby pigs and their mom in the barn. That is my first Pig memory.

Did you even know National Pig Day existed? It does and it  falls on March 1 every year.

 

National Pig Day in top hat
Vintage Piggy Bank Figurine

So, bacon not included, how many famous or popular pigs can you think of?  The first one on my list is the little girl pig from the children’s book, “If you give a pig a pancake.” I really enjoyed reading this to our kids when they were small

National Pig Day Book
If you Give a Pig A Pancake – Felt Pancake Set from TandeFarmersMarket

There is something so sweet and funny about a pig being able to dance and frolic gracefully on her hooves. The piggy in, “If you Give a Pig A Pancake,” does that well in her birthday suit; something Olivia Pig would never consider. Olivia is a refined pig always dressed in her signature color, red! And she was a favorite of our daughter’s and started the on going question in our home, “MOM, can I have a pig?”

Next, I thought of  Charlotte’s Web and WILBUR! Ahhhh dear dear Wilbur. He really was Some Pig. And he might have been the most famous pig ever. In fact Wilbur  paved the way for BABE, who I must admit, I was never a fan of.

Wilbur National Pig
Charlotte’s Web

And the Trendiest pig around, an Actual Pig, now turned into a “character,” Chris P Bacon on Wheels. This pig is a survivor, he has his own Facebook page and his very own book!

Famous National Pig
Chris P Bacon My Life So Far

The last famous pig I have to mention was the beginning and the center of one of the most Infamous fights ever. The Hatfields and McCoys began their feud over a pig that was or was not stolen, (depending whose side you are on.)  There was a trial that took place in a cabin. I don’t have a photo of the famous swine, but I do have a photograph of the cabin that I took while traveling the Hatfield McCoy geo-trail.

Hatfield McCoy Pig Trial Cabin Art Photography Print – MollysMuses

 

Hopefully this post gives you some inspiration to celebrate National Pig Day 2017.  Curl up with a nice book or your famout PIG  movie.

And if you need a themed snack to go with it, how about some chocolate covered bacon…. SWAP for Turkey of course!

National Pig Day
Chocolate Covered Bacon Recipe

According to the National Holiday blog, “the day was created in 1972 by two sisters, Ellen Stanley and Mary Lynne Rave.  Ellen was a school teacher in Lubbock, Texas and Mary was from Beaufort, North Carolina.  According to Mary Lynne Rave, the purpose of National Pig Day is “to accord the pig its rightful, though generally unrecognized, place as one of man’s most intellectual and domesticated animals.”

Extra Special with Vintage Annalee

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My aunt has a flair for decorating and if I were to sum up her style in one word it would be, “special.”  Her sister owned a Hallmark shop in a very tiny town and sold what are now, Vintage Annalee dolls. These little dolls could be found all over the home for every season. In her collection, there was such a large variety of characters and sizes. There were small ones that sat on table tops, tiny ones that could suspend in air and even larger ones like the life-size reindeer that are still placed around the home in winter. These are my favorite.  The old vintage Annalee dolls have become a family tradition. And now, the  grand children are growing up, enjoying these kitschy whimsical characters.

In today’s world,  Annalee dolls can be found in lots of places including big box stores. They are made in China and I assume made quickly for mass and cheap production.  The little faces are still adorable and look cute sitting around the house, but for me, it’s just not the same.

So let’s look at a little history  of the Annalee dolls and why the vintage ones, like my aunt’s decorating are more special.

Vintage Annalee Doll being created by none other than Annalee herself

Like so many success stories, the Annalee company started out of necessity. These sweet-faced dolls were created by Annalee Thorndike, during the depression. As a teenager, she loved to make dolls, but it was a hobby that she had let go. She didn’t pick doll making back up again until the family farm was failing.  The doll making became a family business.  This crafty home based business model was cutting edge at the time.  It has since become a beautiful back bone to small business in America.

There were 3 important ingredients that blended perfectly to build this unique and wonderful story: need, passion and talent. All 3 being equally important, makes me wonder if the farm would have succeeded would Annalee have ever gone back to the “making process?” And if she did, would they have become such a hit?

 

Annalee Thorndike’s family with their handmade vintage Annalee Dolls

Learning that much of the doll making process was done in an old chicken coop on the farm, warms my heart.  You can see the inspiration and love of the farm animals in many of her creations. And if you look at the dolls, some look like they have attitudes or a mischievous expression; and some have angelic smiles. I am sure her own children’s personalities and moods were in many of the hand painted faces.

1965 annalee bunny boy girl doll
1960’s Vintage Annalee Rabbit Farmer Dolls

 

Mice became a muse for the company in the 70’s. When my grandma down sized, she gave me her small collection of 3 mice. There is a tennis player, a baby in a diaper and a little lady holding a pot of flowers. The mice are worn and old but I enjoy them.

annalee tenniss mice doll 70's
Vintage Annalee Tennis Mouse

Hopefully you can see why I have a love for the older dolls.  In a world where everything is stamped out in mass quantity overseas, the Vintage Annalee Dolls were literally created by the hand’s of a family sitting around the table. Even if the older ones are a little tattered or their outfits have faded over time, the story, the memory and the love that created them make them more appealing. These little guys and girls have a family history, they have roots, they are an example of The American Dream.

 

Here are some Spring Time Vintage Annalee Dolls I have rounded up for you to start your collection.

Vintage Annalee Dolls for spring

From Left to right: Vintage Farmer Rabbit Dolls, Spring Pixie, and Blue Boy Girl Easter Bunny Annalee Dolls

Vintage Annalee Rabbit Dolls for Spring and Easter

From Left to Right: Vintage Annalee Bunny Doll, Pink Mobilitee Annalee, Boy Girl Easter Bunny Mobilitee, Bottom Right is no longer available.

If you are a maker, who is not, “making money” at your craft right now or yet, I hope you keep going.  The world might miss out if you stop. Not everyone will have such major or as we call it now, viral success. But if you have something special to share with the world don’t stop.

 

The Choice – Og Mandino – Be Inspired

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I savor inspiration when it comes my way. I think to be inspired is sort of natural high for us as humans. I find inspiration in so many places. Nature, music, books, people, conversation and prayer are some of the first places I look to  find inspiration. The forest and its fragrance are something that inspire me.

rustic, woodland art home decor
Little Pink Trailer in the Forest MollysMuses

Years ago I read The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino. It is a very short but epic book. Mandino is well-known for writing books about being inspired, successful and happy.  While thrift shopping a few weeks back I came across, The Choice, also by Mandino.

While reading The Choice, I felt convicted about my time and how I Choose to spend it. My  husband’s favorite author,  Annie Dillard said, “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.”

Let that sink in. Does what you do really matter or make you happy? I have been pondering that a lot lately.

Forever Young, Bob Dylan lyrics Shellieartist

In the book, Mark is a young father and husband who climbed the corporate ladder successfully, fast and strong.

Mark realized  he was missing precious time. One of the big ones, he missed seeing his son pitch his first no-hitter.

When we are the super stars at work that the boss depends on, there is a price to pay. The same goes for being the over spent volunteer, coach, tireless artist and of course the stay at home mom who feels like she needs to be superwoman to add up. It feels almost unfair that if one thing is going Amazing; chances are something else is suffering. Having it all… what does that even mean?  At this point in my life I have changed my definition. I think to have it all is to find balance among all of the things that are important to me. It forms a perfect circle. The hard part is then being able to drop the things that are not.

We think our kids want stuff. And they do. But if we dig deeper,  what the people we love really crave and need is  TIME.  Time cannot be bought.  Time cannot be returned and time cannot be redone.  The moment is the moment. We try to manipulate time. But as the saying goes, “it is what it is.” You are either present or you aren’t.

time, be present
Vintage Seth Thomas Carriage Clock

Mark was inspired, by what my friends and I like to call a “God moment.” His son ran down the driveway to embrace him on Father’s Day as he was leaving to golf with work buddies.  Right then and there, his life would change forever.  He made a choice to put what really mattered first. He chose to leave the corporate world completely. What did he decide to do instead? Become a writer of course;)

His family embraced the change and moved to a property with a lighthouse. This  lighthouse becomes a background for the writing in the story.

LightHouse Art Print by NicoleFPhotography

Mark’s book is written in the lighthouse and typed on an old Underwood typewriter left by the previous author;  a beautifully interwoven piece to the story.

The book Mark writes, is about living a successful life and it takes off an incredible journey straight to the top. He is once again at the top of his game. And there are some struggles that come along with it.

This book was written in 1984 and there is a story within a story. It is a mystery of sorts and in the beginning really had an old school Scooby Doo vibe. I don’t believe that was his intention. It might just be part of my childhood amusing me while reading. There was No Mystery Bus!  But this mystery takes a turn in style,  almost a premonition to the writing style  of, “The Shack,” which will soon be a movie.  The shack is an excellent book and if I may suggest, Please read it before the movie comes out.

Mark is given a profound choice to make and he does. I won’t divulge that here. I will say  this, I think most people will initially  think the title of this book was based on, “The Choice,” he is given in the mystery part of the book.  I don’t agree.

I believe the greatest choice, the hardest choice was  the one Mark made  in the beginning when he listened to his heart and dumped the corporate world to live a life of meaning beyond just money.

A definite worth while read.

Dale Carnegie, Og Mandino, Vintage Books Psychology
Vintage Self Help Get Inspired Books

 

 

Old Ford Truck Show

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Do you love the timeless feeling of classic automobiles and trucks?  What if you could go to an event that was specifically an “Old Ford Truck Show?” I know I would go, with my camera in hand.

Walking through and seeing all of the high polished colors and sleek designs is something that draws most people in. And for me, I also like to see the owners of the vehicles. It’s funny sometimes to see how much they match their “ride.”

Here is a little virtual Old Ford Truck show, that you don’t have to leave your house to go to and you can shop without having to build a new garage.

I thought I would start with a BAM! Because who knew food trucks were around in 1919? And it was a Ford.

Old Ford Truck Show
First Food Truck 1919

And what goes better with a food truck then an ice cold Coca Cola?  I had no idea that their delivery trucks were Ford. This old Ford truck is from 1935.

Black White vintage photo
Old Ford – Coca Cola Delivery Truck

These Old Ford Trucks that were at one time new, also served our country. This is Priscilla Taylor, next to a 1943 Ford truck. She was an African American truck driver serving in the Women’s Army Corps

Womens Army Corp Truck Driver
Old Ford Truck 1943 Priscilla Taylor

Why am I drawn to Old Ford Trucks? I am not a man and I wasn’t alive when these trucks were new on the road.

Well, my daddy’s first truck was a 1951 Ford International. When he saw one, that was just like his, I went back to take photograph’s so that he could enjoy reminiscing that experience daily with them framed on his office wall.

Old Ford Truck Photo
Rustic Ford International Truck Photography
Ford trucks are of course THE classic for the USA. The trucks from the 50’s were nostalgic, big and everything a good country song looks like.

In writing this post and searching for old Ford trucks, I had the wonderful discovery of this black and white documentary photographer, William Gedney. I cannot believe as a photographer, I did not know his work before.  But doesn’t this vintage photograph, “Boy in driver’s seat of truck,” really give a complete picture of life as a country boy behind the wheel of one of these brutes in the 60’s?

Old Ford Truck Photo
William Gedney Boy in drivers seat
 These classic Ford International trucks, Custom Cab, have been preserved with a shine and luster that would no doubt make their original owners smile. I love the turquoise blue and white together. It’s nostalgia and America all rolled into one.

Custom Cab 1960's Ford Truck Photography
Ford International Truck Prints

Did you or do you own an Old Ford Truck? I would love to hear about your love affair with this classic object in American history.

Happy Popcorn Day – Get Popping

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Happy Popcorn Day!~

Did you even know there was such a thing as National Popcorn Day? I am diving into some of these less known but indulgent holidays this year on my blog and I have to admit, popcorn is one I can get in on.

My 40 year history of popcorn goes something sort of like this.

It was the 70’s when I first remember eating popcorn., And I remember it because it was an event. It was Jiffy Pop on the stove. If you have never tried it, it’s amazing for a kid to watch the foil grown into a balloon and for me it was equally entertaining to listen to the shake of my moms hand back and forth on the stove and then the sound of the popcorn popping.

Jiffy Pop Popcorn
Happy National Popcorn Day

Next I remember our family getting an air popper. It was awesome, there was even a place on top to put your butter and melt it (this was before microwaves). This meant that instead of a family sharing one little Jiffy Pop popcorn pack, there was almost like an endless supply. I vaguely remember hearing my dad say to my mom one night after I inhaled a bowl, “where did she put it all?”

When I was tween, growing up in Daytona Beach our mall had a gourmet popcorn stand where you  could choose a box of your favorite. My daddy always got caramel. This was good stuff. The smell wafted down the mall and it was visually stimulating to look at all those popped kernels with the added deliciousness.

 

Happy Popcorn Day

 

 

The next popcorn wave – trend that I remember is when the fun tins with puppy’s and kitty cats on the outside became a thing. These were super fun to receive as a family gift, there were dividers inside for 4 different flavors and at the end, my fingers were always orange from chowing down on the cheddar.

When I was a teenager we got a microwave and the next huge cool way to cook the kernels. And it didn’t just become a thing, it was the thing. It almost seemed like every air popper vanished. It was pretty good, I ate it because it was there. And then, it became a “healthy food” or so the diet guru’s said and so you could smell bare naked popcorn, which to me smells more like burning hair, cooking at every office around lunch time. And they said you could “eat the whole bag”

We got rid of our microwave a few years ago and I am so glad. It forced me to get out the air popper (which I think is the one my mom got when I was younger) our popcorn is so good. And now, we buy sprinkle toppings. It’s a thing if you haven’t tried it, butter, cheddar, ranch. You can even have buffalo style.

Every year our son, who is on his way to Eagle Scout, sells at least $500 worth of popcorn, pre-popped and flavored, microwave and air pop kernels~! We are never without.

Vintage Boy Scout Popcorn Tin

I think popcorn has stood the test of time and always will. Why, It’s Cheap, fast and super easy to make it into anything you want.

You don’t have to go all out, but it would be easy to make a little buffet tonight for National Popcorn Day.

DIY Popcorn Bar

Friday the 13th Freaky or Not?

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Tomorrow is Friday the 13th. Freaky, weird, scary or not?

Industrial number 13
Vintage Metal Numbers

When I was in junior high, I remember a big hoopla around the date, Friday the 13th.

Friday the 13th wasn’t just a date, it was its own character with a title,  a villain of sorts that everyone tried to avoid, which pretty much is an impossible task if you are a breathing human.

I remember if someone had something special planned and then realized it was falling on, “Friday the 13th,” is was an OH NO moment.

If Friday the 13th is a villain, his twin brother is Murphy. And they are both in the business of passing out excuses.

Car ran out of gas? Got ketchup on your shirt? A Pop Quiz?  Bad Hair Day? 

Everything is Friday the 13th’s fault.

Friday the 13th
Murphy’s Law Sign

And the legendary fear is not just limited to the United States. It  is alive in many different countries. There is even a technical term for people afraid of Friday the 13th – – friggatriskaidekaphobia – “Frigg”  

Okay so really, what the frigg?

The truth is the fear of Friday the 13th has many different legendary beginnings, the one that strikes me (although I am not afraid of Friday the 13th anymore), I found on National Geographic’s website. Judas, was  the 13th guest at the last supper. If you are a christian, you know that he betrayed Jesus and that Jesus was crucified on a Friday.

2D Christian Religious Art Decor 13
Vintage Last Supper Painting

I can see why this would become a fear for many. But as a christian, I know that it was all God’s plan and it was actually a gift and he allowed Judas to give him over. I don’t  believe LUCK had anything to do with it.

Some other more odd beliefs of the “holiday,” are that Cain slayed Abel on that day and I even read some people believe it was the day Eve gave Adam the apple.

I am trying not to laugh, but I am a little.

If you decide to stay home in bed and avoid the day all together, make sure you have a good Netflix show to binge watch. I recommend watching an  X Files  marathon.

sci fi binge
The X Files coloring book

But you should know:  That’s exactly what New Yorker Daz Baxter did in 1976. He was so afraid, of Friday the 13th he decided to stay safe in his bed,  However, Mr Baxter was killed when the floor of his apartment block collapsed that day.