Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Faves - TuneIn Radio

Do you love radio?  I always have.  I remember listening to the radio constantly as a young girl, while riding my bike, rollerskating, and lying in bed at night.

I have found a really fun, free app for iPad, tablet, phone, or computer called TuneIn Radio.  It lets you choose your favorite radio by location, by music style, by talk topics, and more.  You can save your favorites and then listen to them anytime.  I have this app installed on my iPad and Blackberry, and I really, really enjoy it.  It is so relaxing to listen to at the end of a long day.  I love browsing oldies by decades (especially my favorites, 60's and 70's).  I also have installed my favorite local jazz station, WCLK.  For some reason I am not able to pick up this station in my house (although I get it fine in my car - go figure!), so it is a treat to be able to listen on phone or tablet.

A head's up about this app -- it uses data minutes like crazy, so be sure you are logged in via a wireless connection.

I hope you enjoy TuneIn as much as I do.  You can find it on iTunes, Google Play, Blackberry World, or computer.  Have fun!

Do you enjoy radio?  What types of radio programs do you like best?  You can talk radio in the comments below. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Music Monday - "The Telephone Hour" from Bye Bye Birdie

My Music Monday song this week is "The Telephone Hour" from Bye Bye Birdie (1963).  I love musicals, love Bye Bye Birdie, and this is my favorite number from the show.  In a little over 3 minutes, this song tells the story of teenagers who decide to go steady (the girl "gets pinned") -- and how the word spreads among their friends.  The young couple is played by Ann-Margret and Bobby Rydell as Kim and Hugo.  I love the choreography by Joseph F. Biroc, and the graphics at the end of the song - so Mid-Century.   I started thinking about this song last week when I posted about Valentines featuring telephones ... and I have been humming it ever since.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Watching Downton Abbey With Downtown Abby - Season 4, Episode 4 (U.S.)

After all the drama of last week's show, tonight was a quieter hour - meaning not quite as compelling.

We meet Baxter, the new maid.  She seems nice, but she is in cahoots with Thomas.  What is their connection?  I wonder if he is blackmailing her or holding something over her in order to get her to spy on the family?

Mr. Bates finds out from Mrs. Hughes that Anna was raped.  He does not know the identity of the rapist, although he suspects Gillingham's valet.  There is a scene where Mr. Bates and Anna connect again, and she is moving back to the cottage.  He has, however, vowed revenge:  "Nothing is over.  Nothing is done with."

Mary learns that Gillingham is engaged, and sheds a tear.  Edith does not hear from Gregson, and she worries.  Meanwhile, she visits Dr. T. Goldman, M.B.B.S., F.R.C.S. (Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons). Could she be pregnant?!

Mr. Napier, who was a friend of the late Mr. Pamuk, visits.  He is working in the area, and will be visiting again, with his boss, Charles Blake.

Alfred takes a test for cooking school at the Ritz, but he is not accepted.  Carson actually encourages him in his ambition.

Carson offers a job to Molesley, and Molesley thinks it over. (Carson offers the footman position when he thinks Alfred will be leaving.)   Molesley tells Carson he supposes he can accept after "mature deliberation."  Carson then rescinds the job offer.

There are some good scenes between Isabel and the Dowager Countess.  Isabel places a young gardener in need of work at the Countess's estate, and a paper knife goes missing.  This leads to a deliberation about the gardener's honesty between Isabel, the Dowager Countess, and Dr. Clarkson.

Tom Branson considers moving to the United States with baby Sybie. This is not resolved, so we will probably hear more in future episodes.

Grantham loans money to a local farmer who is in dire financial straits after his father's death.  When Mary and Tom discover this, they seem to have a sort of grudging admiration for Grantham and his decency.

There is a fun little scene when Cora tells Mrs. Padmore they will be ordering a refrigerator.  Mrs. Padmore, who always holds to the old ways, resists.  Cora asks if there is anything old that she would like to move on from, and Mrs. Padmore replies that she would like to move past corsets.

The trailer for next week shows Mary meeting Charles Blake.  Sparks seem to fly - although more estate related rather than romantic.  The conflict between the Dowager Countess and Isabel Crawley seems to continue.

What did you think of tonight's episode?   What was your favorite scene?  Do you think that Mr. Bates will discover the truth about Anna's rapist?  Why is Edith not hearing from Michael Gregson?   Did you have a favorite line from tonight's show?  I hope you'll comment with your thoughts!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Faves

Happy Friday from a very chilly Atlanta!   We are used to January temps in the 30's - low 50's, and it was 12 degrees this morning.  That means good weather for coffee and blogging.

My first favorite this week is Chat Patti.  This is a little South Indian restaurant in Atlanta (near Target on North Druid Hills Road, a few blocks from I-85).  You order at the counter, where you can see the food behind the counter (like a cafeteria) and also see photos of the food with names of dishes.  There is no English menu, so this is a good place to go if you know South Indian food or if you are an adventurous diner!   South Indian food is vegetarian, and does not include mushrooms, so I am happy with anything on the menu.  I had basmati rice with chana masala (curried chickpeas) and an eggplant, okra, and potato masala (delicious but VERY spicy -- I had to order some yogurt to cut the spice).  My friend and I split an order of samosas (fried potato appetizers - very yummy!).  The samosas are served with chutney (sweet sauce) and green sauce (spicier).  I have loved Indian food since college, and could easily eat it several times a week!

My second favorite is New England Coffee.  I live in the deep South and only discovered this old (since 1916) coffee company recently.  I absolutely love every blend I have tried -- from San Francisco (bold and dark) to Breakfast Blend (light and smooth).  I highly recommend this coffee!

My third favorite is simple:  flannel sheets.  When it is 12 degrees on a cold night, flannel sheets are a wonderful invention.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ring, Ring ... Vintage Phone Valentines Calling!

Hi all!

I'm listing lots of vintage Valentines these days, and I keep coming across cards featuring children and teenagers on telephones.  I think these images are so much fun, as they show how much phones have changed over the years.  I just wanted to share a few baby boomer vintage Valentines that feature telephones with you:

A girl talks in a phone booth, while her poodle dog waits patiently outside.  Now, when was the last time you saw a phone booth?

 A young girl talks on a red phone:

A blonde girl with a ponytail talks on an old fashioned phone:

Aren't these images fun and nostalgic? If you like these cards, you'll find more vintage cards that involve retro phones at Birdhouse Books.   (I even have a mechanical card featuring a Schnauzer dog on a telephone!)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Vintage Valentine Giveaway Contest at Birdhouse Books

Hi all!

I'm hosting my first ever vintage Valentine giveaway contest at Birdhouse Books.

The contest will run from Tuesday, January 21, 2014 until Thursday, January 30, 2014.   The prize will ship within the United States only.

The winner of this contest can choose the Valentine of their choice under $10 at my shop, Birdhouse Books.  I will package it carefully and ship it to you so you can give it to your sweetie for Valentine's Day, frame it ("how to" and example here), tuck it into a card to gift, use it to scrapbook, or just enjoy it.  

You'll find my shop here:  Birdhouse Books on eBay.  You can peek at my vintage Valentines under $10 here:  vintage Valentines under $10, all with free shipping!

It's easy to enter!  Just visit Birdhouse Books at the link above, and let me know which Valentine you would like to win.  

Please leave a comment below with the name of the Valentine you like best, and be sure to include your email!

The winner will be picked by random drawing on January 30.  Thanks for visiting!

UPDATE on 1/30/14.  A winner has been selected.  Congratulations to Stephanie M.!  Thank you all so much for participating!  I really appreciate your visits and comments.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Music Monday: Concrete and Clay by Unit 4 Plus 2

It's Music Monday at Birdhouse Books!  Today I'm sharing one of my favorite songs, "Concrete and Clay."   This song was recorded by British pop band Unit 4 Plus 2 in 1965.  It was written by group members Tommy Moeller and Brian Parker.  It is a catchy song with a bit of a Latin beat, and you may remember it from the movie Rushmore.  This is one of those tunes that just gets stuck in my head, and I end up humming it for days after hearing it.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Watching Downton Abbey With Downtown Abby: Season 4, Episode 3 (US)

I found tonight's episode of Downton Abbey as satisfying as last week's was unsettling.

The show opened with a striking image of a woman walking, in profile, toward the castle.  This set the stage for an episode about women and secrets.

Anna has chosen to keep the rape secret from Mr. Bates.  As a result, there is tremendous tension between them, and she has decided to move back to the servant's quarters since she feels unworthy of him.  Mrs. Hughes knows, but is keeping her secret.  I hope that Anna will decide to tell Mr. Bates everything, and if she doesn't, I hope that Mrs. Hughes will intervene.  Mrs. Hughes does try to talk to Anna, but Anna is not ready to listen.  I was waiting for Mrs. Hughes to say that Lord Gillingham's valet should be reported because not only has he committed a violent crime, but he could do this to another woman, since he is clearly a dangerous and disturbed person.

There is also tension between Edna Braithwaite and Tom Branson.  I am not sure if she actually slept with him when he was drunk, or if she pretended to in order to blackmail him.  Tom is very troubled and feels guilty about what happened, and he also confides in Mrs. Hughes.  She calls Edna out on her behavior and her schemes, and Edna leaves in a huff.  Before she exits, there is a wonderful little sniping conversation with Thomas.  And then she leaves -- good riddance to bad rubbish!   This was one of the highlights of the episode for me.

Edith has gone off to London to see Michael Gregson before he leaves for Munich.  She signs a paper for him.  I believe he says this gives her control of the paper.  I must admit that the signing of the paper made me nervous -- what else is she agreeing to by signing it?   I still do not trust Gregson.  Edith has a walk of shame back to Aunt Rosamunde's house, and Rosamunde calls her on coming in at six a.m.  Rosamunde says what I have been thinking -- that Edith is risking a lot for a man they don't really know.  I want Edith to be happy, but something about Gregson doesn't add up for me.  I hope I am wrong.

Mary is visited in London and at Downton Abbey by Tony Gillingham.  He has fallen in love with her and wants to marry her, whenever she is ready, whether it is a year or two or three. There is a scene in the gardens where they talk and he kisses her.  He has told her that she fills his brain.  She says that her brain is still filled with Matthew, and she wants it to stay that way, because she isn't ready to let go of him yet.  Gillingham leaves to move on, as originally planned, with the woman he was about to propose to.  Later, when Mary is talking to Branson, she says that she has done something that she thinks she will regret for a long time to come.

In other news, Mrs. Crawley is volunteering with the doctor (whose name I always forget!), and it seems like they might get closer.  I hope so.  There is also a sweet scene between Mrs. Crawley and the Dowager Countess, who are surprisingly becoming friends.

There is a lovely scene between Mrs. Hughes and Carson, when she presents him with a framed picture of his lost love, Alice.  He has one of the most poignant lines of the night:  "The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end, that's all there is."

There is much more back and forth with the younger servants working at Downton (the quadrangle of Alfred, Daisy, James, Ivy).  These young folk with their electric mixers and cloakroom intrigue!  Yawn.

Rose is continuing to look for fun, including a brief flirtation with a family friend in London, and sparks of interest with a jazz bandleader, Jack Ross, who happens to be black.

Thomas informs Lord Grantham that he has an older woman to recommend as a new maid for Cora.  It will be interesting to see who she is, and what Thomas's angle is -- because I'm sure there is one.

What did you think of tonight's episode?  Do you think Mary made the right decision about Tony Gillingham?  Do you think we have seen the last of Edna Braithwaite?  What do you think about Edith and Michael Gregson?  What about Anna and Mr. Bates -- can this marriage be saved?  What storylines interest you the most?   

I hope you'll leave a comment and share your thoughts!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Faves

Welcome to my first ever Friday Faves!  Each week will be just a little pocketful of happiness.

My faves this week are:

Gingerbread Spice Tea by Celestial Seasonings.  This is a holiday tea, and it really does remind me gingerbread, with a nice cinnamon accent.  I am a longtime fan of Celestial Seasonings.  Their teas have all-natural ingredients, a wide range of flavors, and beautiful packaging.

GarageBand for iPad.   This is the most addictive app ever!   With the free edition, you can play the piano, guitar, or drums.  Coincidentally, these are the three instruments I have actually played at some point in my life.  It is so much fun!  I love playing by ear, as I used to on an actual piano, and adding chords for accompaniment.

American Idol, Season 13.  This truly seems like a new and improved Idol, with the new judging panel of Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick, Jr.   The judges seem to really care about picking singers who have talent and potential, and the auditions have seemed much kinder than past seasons.  I like the way Harry Connick, Jr. offers constructive criticism (and it is truly constructive) when he lets a singer down.  There have only been two episodes, and I haven't seen a singer who really stands out for me, but I'm hoping there will be someone this season, like some of my past favorites:  Candace Glover, Phillip Phillips, Adam Lambert, Casey Abrams, Jason Castro, Melinda Doolittle, Clay Aiken.  Idol is back!  That is a happy thought on its own.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Best of Vintage Valentines - Lots o' Links with Photos

January is the month of love at Birdhouse Books, as I list lots of great vintage Valentines.  I really enjoy working with vintage Valentines for children, and have posted photos and links many times over the past few years.  I wanted to share a few previous blog links with you (photos of the fun vintage cards at each link):

1940's Valentines for children - My favorite is the little Shirley Temple girl with her Scottie dog.

Baby Boomer Die-Cut Valentines - Especially love the "hoppy" frog card.

Photos of vintage Valentines - Be sure to see the mechanical tango dancers, and the unique older handmade card.

More 1940's Valentines - The soda fountain is just too cute! 

1920's to 1930's vintage Valentines - The Red Riding Hood card is so charming!

1950's to 1960's Die-Cut Valentines - They are all cute, but I think I like the bowling Terrier dog most of all.

Baby Boomer Valentines - The top card pictured, of the little girl painting with her dog, is especially cute.

Whitney Made Valentines - These cards from the 1920's to 1930's are among the most beautiful, with detailed illustrations.  The last card pictured, of a little boy and girl under an umbrella, is so sweet.

More Baby Boomer Vintage Valentines - The first card features a little girl and her Dachshund.  I collect vintage Dachshund cards and have one of these in my collection.
Sweet 1950's Valentines - The little girl painting is an especially sweet illustration.

Vintage Valentines for Children - The first and last cards pictured are mechanical cards featuring children and dogs, with Charles Twelvetrees illustrations.

Elephant Bride Valentine - This card sold long ago, but I'm glad the photo is still here at the blog.  I believe this is a Jason Freixas illustration.  It was a spectacular card!

Anthropomorphic Train Valentine - The anthropomorphic cards are fun!

Carousel Valentine - I love vintage carnival and fair items, so find this especially appealing.

Mechanical Valentine of a Little Girl and Her Dog - A little girl plays the piano while her dog helps by "singing."

And, of course, if you want to see more Valentines, you'll find hundreds at Birdhouse Books.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Watching Downton Abbey with Downtown Abby - Season 4, Episode 2 (US)

Before we start talking about Downton Abbey, I have to say that of course both my beloved pups, Barney Fife and Abby, watch the show each week curled up beside me.  Barney, being a wise senior dachshund, usually agrees with Carson in all things Downton.  Abby wishes to be referenced in all Downton posts here, since the title includes her name - sort of.

Also, this post contains SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! for Episode 2 of Season 4.  Do not continue reading if you have not seen the episode yet.

Sigh.  This was the episode I had heard whispers about.  I had only heard that something bad was going to happy to Anna in this episode.  I didn't have details, but figured it out early on tonight.  Sigh.  I hated this storyline.  Absolutely hated how dark and dreary it was.  Poor Anna.  She's been through enough, with Bates' jail sentence and their separation.  

Also -- I am ready for Braithwaite to leave already.  She is up to no good with Tom, who is my favorite of the Downton men.  He was already struggling tonight, feeling out of place at the formal dinner.  (But wasn't he handsome in white tie?)

On a positive note, Lord Gillingham is charming, and it was nice to see Lady Mary connect with him on the basis of a longtime friendship.  I hope, since it is so soon after Matthew's death, that this will remain just a friendship for a while.

Gregson did a good turn outsmarting the card shark to win back the money that Lord Grantham and the others lost.   I still worry, though, for Edith, especially after seeing the trailers for next week.  

As usual, the Dowager Countess had several wonderful lines.  My favorite was:  "If I were to search for logic, I should not look for it among the English upper class."   I was also delighted that she quoted Christina Rosetti when talking to Mrs. Crawley:  "Better by far you should forget and smile/ Than that you should remember and be sad."

My favorite scene was at dinner, when Cora found that famed opera singer Nellie Melba would be dining alone in her room.  After Cora left to smooth things over, Lord Grantham looked at Carson and said:  "I blame you."  Absolute perfection!  They are both so enamored with the decorum of the past.

On a visual note, the glimpse of the garden was striking.  I love the greenery arches!

One question from this episode -- why was one of the footman (James?) measuring the distance from each chair to the table?  I'm sure there was some reason based on etiquette and vintage dining customs.

Overall, this wasn't my favorite episode, but of course I still like lesser Downton over anything else on television. 

What did you think of this episode?  I hope you'll leave your comments below (without any spoilers for future episodes, if you have already seen the UK edition).   What do you think of Lord Gillingham?  What will happen with Anna and Bates?  How do you think the Braithwaite storyline will resolve?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Only Connect! Rethinking Twitter

"Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer."
- E.M. Forster, Howards End 

Lately it seems I'm spending more time off the computer and communicating via phone and iPad.  As a result, I find myself looking at the social media sites and thinking about whether they work for me.

My beloved Pinterest is the same on computer or iPad - a stream of beautiful, whimsical, funny photos.

Facebook is also fun in any medium -- a chance to catch up with friends and family, read updates, share photos (and, okay, I will admit it - play Songpop as well!).

Twitter, though, is another story.  I am finding that I end up reading long streams of items for sale, books promoted, but very little actual conversation. 

I have been doing Twitter wrong.  As a vintage seller, for years I have scheduled item tweets with Hootsuite (a lovely program for organizing Twitter reads by lists and stream).  Unfortunately, this means I wasn't really talking on twitter, except for brief conversations with personal friends and dachshund community buddies.

I'm going to try something different.  I have some Valentine tweets scheduled (one a day) but after these run out, I am not going to schedule tweets, but will interact regularly.  Of course I will still tweet some of my vintage items, but I will do so live online, and on a much smaller basis.  My new motto is to talk more and promote less.

The same goes for massive retweets.  I was retweeting sometimes 25, 50, or more vintage tweets at any given time.  Yikes!   I participate in a link exchange with a small group of longtime eBay friends, and I will still do that, but that is again on a small scale, resulting in just a handful of tweets.  

I don't know how this will change things, but I'm looking forward to finding out.   I can't promise that my tweets will all be pithy or interesting, but I can promise this:  they will be real.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Let's re-start at the very beginning ...

Hi all,

Welcome to my new and improved blog.  You'll notice that it looks different, but I think you will find that the feel and content will also be a change of pace.

I want to make this blog more fun, more casual, and more varied in 2014.  You'll still find vintage tidbits here, but you might also see a picture of my dogs, chat about books and reading, a retro recipe, or talk about Downton Abbey.  I'm excited about this new approach to blogging, and hope you'll follow and join in with comments.  I would love to chat with YOU here.

Since it's been a long while, I'll re-introduce myself.  My name is Trish.  I live in Georgia with my 16 year old dachshund, Barney Fife, and my 4 year old "doxie-Jack" (dachshund/Jack Russell Terrier mix), Abby.

My business is Birdhouse Books, and I sell vintage children's books and ephemera on eBay, Etsy, and Bonanza.  This year I will also be expanding to some of the book sites (more on that later!).

My previous lives have included bookstore management, teaching preschool, and (during one fun year in college) working as a singing telegram messenger.

When I'm not researching vintage treasures, I enjoy reading (historical fiction, mysteries, children's literature, classics), vegetarian cooking, retro pop culture. music (oldies, jazz, Broadway), and thrifting some more (I know, it's an obsession!).

What else can I tell you?  My favorite color is lime.  I hate mushrooms.  I spend way too much time on Pinterest

There's more to say, but this conversation will continue.  Wishing you a good day (or evening!), and looking forward to chatting more soon.