Thursday, July 31, 2014

So You Think You Can Dance: Top 14

The top 14 dancers performed on So You Think You Can Dance this week.   The show began with a group dance to "Last Moment" by Christopher Filippi.  The number, choreographed by Mandy Moore, featured atmospheric lighting and the dancers in Roman garb.  It was a lovely way to start the show.

The guest judge this week was Christina Applegate.  I really like her as a judge.  She takes the show seriously and has insightful comments, but also offers a sense of fun.

The bottom 6 were announced, with news that 4 of them would go home.  They were:  Serge, Teddy, Casey, Jessica, Carly, and Emily

Emilio and Bridget danced first.  Emilio said that Bridget brings congeniality to the show, while Bridget said that Emilio brings a potty mouth. They danced a jazz number by Ray Leeper about two devils on a mission from hell.  The music was "Long Road to Hell" (Avicii).  Their costumes were red and cheesy and the whole number was a little bit too much for me.  

Next up were Tanisha and Rudy.  According to the dancers, Tanisha brings hiccups to the show and Rudy brings a quiet demeanor (said ironically, as he is very loud!).  They danced a Mandy Moore contemporary number about seduction to "Seduces Me" (Celine Dion).  There was lots of big movement and an impressive overhead lift.  Christina gave them a standing ovation.

Serge performed a solo to "Wicked Game" (Parra for Cuva) in ballroom style.  I wish I had voted for him last week!  (I rarely vote.)

Jacque and Zack were introduced.  The dancers said that Jacque brings customer service skills from her job at a grocery store to the show.  Zack brings "mad rapping skills."  They danced a vampire theme Paso Doble by Jean Marc Generaux to "Dragula" (Rob Zombie).  It was dramatic and interesting to watch.  Nigel said it was good that the concept did not overshadow the routine, and I agree.

Carly performed a contemporary solo to "Not About Angels" (Birdy).  I keep getting Carly and Emily confused - they are very similar to me in look and style. 

Emily and Teddy were next.  Emily brings a business degree to the show, while Teddy brings rubbery arms and neck.  They performed a Warren Carlyle Broadway number about a cat and mouse style flirtation.  The song was "From This Moment On" (Kiss Me Kate).  Nigel said it ended weak and I agree.  Teddy lost synchronization in several places.

Casey performed a solo to "Kiss Me" (Ed Sheeran).

Jessica and Casey performed next.   Jessica brings her awkwardness to the show (according to Casey), while Casey brings a great turning ability.  Travis Wall choreographed a number for them about finding a person in your life who centers you.  It was danced to "Like Real People Do" (Hozier).  There is a screen capture of the dance above.  The pivotal moment of the dance was a kiss.  Their chemistry was great.  The judges all gave them a standing ovation.

Emily performed a solo to "Infra 8" (Louisa Fuller, Natalia Bonner, Nick Barr, Ian Burdge, Chris Worsey).

Teddy then performed a solo to "If I Ever Fall in Love" (Shai).

Carly and Serge were next up.  According to the dancers, Carly brings her emotions to the show, while Serge brings a ponytail.   They did a quickstep choreographed by Jean Marc Generaux to "A Cool Cat in Town" (Tape Five).  Serge shone in this number.

Jessica performed a solo to "Fever" by Beyonce.

Valerie and Ricky danced next.   Valerie brings her tomboy personality to the show, while Ricky brings great Cuban coffee.  They danced a hip hop choreographed by Pharside and Phoenix.  It was about a witch doctor and a doll, performed to "Turn Down for What" (D.J. Snake and Lil John).  It was a fun dance, completely in character.

The girls performed a group number choreographed by Mandy Moore.  It was a salute to strong women dancing together, performed to "My Immortal" by Evanescence.  The judges loved it, and Christina singled Valerie out for praise, calling her "Tappy McTapperson."

The guys performed a group routine choreographed by Travis Wall about a city of lost souls.  It was to "Wave" (Beck).  The men wore what my friends and I termed "skants" (pants that looked like long skirts).  They did some amazing leaps and at the end of the number they fell off the stage, one by one.   It was a beautiful number and I think perhaps my favorite of the season so far.

The judges decided unanimously on the four dancers going home:  Teddy, Serge, Emily, and Carly.   They kept Casey and Jessica.   I prefer Serge to Casey, and was sorry to see him go.

The All Stars are returning next week.  Woohoo!   I love seeing them return.  The pairs for next week were announced:

Rudy will dance with Jenna.
Jacque will dance with Cheon. (Can't wait to see him next week!)
Zack will dance with Amy.
Bridget will dance with Brandon.
Ricky will dance with Lauren.
Tanisha will dance with Ryan.
Emilio will dance with Jasmine.
Valerie will dance with Ade.
Casey will dance with Katherine.
Jessica will dance with Twitch.

What did you think of this week's show?  Are you excited to see the All Stars return?   I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Retro chat on Facebook

Hi all!   

I just made a retro group on Facebook for chat about growing up in the 1950's, 1960's, or 1970's.   If you're interested I hope you'll join us!

Do You Remember on Facebook - click here!

Pictured above -- Woolworth.  I loved dimestores as a kid!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

So You Think You Can Dance - Top 16

It's So You Think You Can Dance night!  The top 16 dancers performed an opening number choreographed by Mandy Moore.  It had a water theme and was set to "Take Me to the River" by Annie Lennox.  I loved it!  I think Mandy Moore is often overlooked as a choreographer on the show, but I really consistently like her work.

Misty Copeland is sitting in as a judge again tonight.  While I like her, I really miss seeing some of the familiar faces from past seasons, like Adam Shankman.  

The bottom 6 dancers were announced:
  • Bridget 
  • Brooklyn 
  • Tanisha 
  • Marquet 
  • Serge 
  • Zack
I'm disappointed to see Zack on this list.  I think he is a really strong dancer. 

Tonight we saw clips of the dancers' first performances (home movies - very cute!) prior to their pairs dances.

Valerie and Ricky danced a Bollywood number choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan to "Dilliwali Girlfriend" (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani).  It was energetic and fun!

Bridget and Emilio did a contemporary number by Travis Wall about removing the past from your memory to move on.  They danced around an empty bed frame to "The Leaving Song" (Chris Garneau).  It was very intense, and I thought that Emilio stood out.

Tanisha and Rudy did a Dave Scott hip hop number that he envisoned like a black and white comic book.  The danced to "Good Kisser" (Usher).  Nigel said Tanisha reminds him of Uma Thurman, and I agree.

Jessica and Marquet danced a Dimitry Chaplin choreographed foxtrot to "I Put A Spell On You" (Nina Simone).  Marquet portrayed a very powerful businessman.  It didn't grab me - and evidently the judges agreed.  Mary did not like Marquet's hold, and Nigel didn't like the routine.

Carly and Serge danced a Mandy Moore contemporary about desire to "Foolish Games" (Jewel).  It was emotional and well danced.  Serge is one of those dancers who sort of flies under the radar for me.  I keep forgetting to mention him as a favorite, but I think he is very strong.

Emily and Teddy did a ballroom number by Oksana and Jonathan to "Bruk It Down" (Mr. Vegas).  It had a lot of lifts!  It was okay but not a standout to me.  Nigel related that Emily has a dislocated shoulder.

Jacque and Zack danced a Sonyah Tayeh jazz number about a couple who had a past fling and want to rekindle things.  They danced to "Back to Black" (Beyonce).  Zack is so versatile!  Misty was very critical of Jacque. Nigel asked her point blank if she is more critical of the girls than the guys.  Misty answered that perhaps she is because the guys are at another level.

Brooklyn and Casey danced a Wildebeast hip hop number to "Hustle Hard" (Ace Hood).  It was not a really memorable number for me, and I am not sure that either of them sold the hard hitting hip hop.

Then there were two group numbers.   Sonya Tayeh choregraphed a number about a village of broken people to "So Broken" (Bjork).  It was odd and unsettling with lots of falling and angst.  Tanisha was a featured dancer.

The second group number was by Travis Wall.  It was about outlaws escaping the city.  There were a number of dramatic group lifts.  It was performed to "Love Runs Out" (One Republic).  Ricky is such a star!  When he was dancing with the group, he really drew so much attention.

Lucy Hale from Pretty Little Liars "sang."  (Enough said.)

The judges closed the show by sending the two dancers with the lowest audience votes home.   Marquet and Brooklyn, who auditioned together, also left the show together.  Marquet was an early favorite of mine, but I don't think he lived up to his potential.  I think he is very young, and perhaps not quite ready for the competition.

Next week four dancers will be eliminated.  That should be a very dramatic show!   

Did you watch this week?  I would love to read your thoughts in the comments, below.

Free Online Courses: Laura Ingalls Wilder and Modern Poetry

Hi all!

Just popping in with some fun news.  I'm going to try online courses for the first time this fall.  I'm excited!   I loved school (especially college).  In addition to classes related to my primary studies (Creative Writing, English, Theatre), I loved taking arts-related electives that captured my interest -- Film History, Art History, Sketching, Modern Dance, etc.

There are some great resources for FREE online courses.  I have heard very good things about Coursera and FutureLearn.   

I've signed up for two free classes:

Laura Ingalls Wilder:  Her Work and Writing Life  - Missouri State University (begins September 22)

Modern and American Contemporary Poetry - University of Pennsylvania (begins September 6)

If you sign up for either of these courses, please let me know so we have a milkshake in the virtual malt shop and chat about the classes together.

Have you taken free online courses?  Do you have any free online course sites that you recommend?  I would love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

So You Think You Can Dance: Top 18 Perform

This week the top 18 dancers performed.  The show started with an elaborate top 18 dance to "How It's Done" (District 78).  The dancers moved like chess pieces across the stage in a number choreographed by the Academy of Villains crew members.

Cat Deeley introduced the judges, "three divine devotees of dance" - Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and Misty Copeland.

The bottom 6 dancers were announced:  Bridget, Emily, Jourdan, Emilio, Stanley, and Teddy.

This week the dancers all told America something they did not know about their partner.

Jacque said that Zack loves to swim.  Zack confided that Jacque is obsessed with fellow dancer Rudy.  They then performed a lyrical hip hop number by Keone and Mari.  The song was "Stay With Me" by Sam Smith.  The dance started with  the dancers lying down and then moved upward.  It was lovely and emotional.  Mary commented on the "articulation of movement."

Marquet told America that Jourdan is always working out.  Jourdan said that Marquet is in a hip hop crew.  They then performed a Dee Caspary contemporary dance about a couple trying not to disappear.  The song was "Disappear" by Mikky Ekko.  There was an umbrella prop.  The dancers did not seem to connect, and I agree with the judges, who wanted to see more vulnerability with Jourdan.

Jessica told America that Stanley is an aspiring model.  Stanley said that Jessica likes to surf (but not very well!).  They then did a Tyce Diorio number about a magic carpet ride.  The song was "Funkier Than a Mosquito's Tweeter" by Nikka Costa.  I'd never heard this song before but think I like it because the title is fun.  Stanley did some great leaps and extensions.  The judges commented on Jessica's mugging for the camera during her dance.

Bridget told America that Emilio is a ninja.  Emilio said that Bridget is a Renaissance Festival nerd who has a magic wand.  Then Anya and Pasha were magically on my tv screen.  Pasha!  Pasha Kolakev is my all time favorite dancer from SYTYCD and the friends I watch with have teased many times that he is my "tv boyfriend."  They choreographed a jive for Emilio and Bridget to "Happy" by Pharrell Williams.  It was a fun number!  Bridget really did well in this genre.   The speed of the dance was fast and light.

Teddy told America that Emily likes deep sea fishing.  Emily said that Teddy is very competitive at board games.   They danced a Tyce Diorio number about a poetic look into someone's eyes with the thought "don't ever leave me."  The song was "No Me Quitte Pas" (Nina Simone).  The meaning of the song ("Don't ever leave me") was apropos to both of them being in the bottom 6.  I agree with Nigel's comment that they made some ugly lifts beautiful.

Casey told America that Brooklyn skateboards.  Brooklyn said that Casey takes fashion seriously.  They danced a Bonnie Story jazz number about a prom to "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (Michael Buble).  It was a fun number, and Casey stood out with his megawatt smile.

Ricky told America that Valerie is obsessed with pigs.  Valerie said that Ricky was a high school mascot and dressed as a barracuda.   They danced a Lacey Schwimmer choreographed Viennese Waltz.  Good to see Lacey again -- one of my favorite SYTYCD alumni.  The song was "I Won't Give Up" (Jason Mraz).  Valerie wore one of the prettiest dresses I have ever seen (photo of Valerie and Ricky above).  It was like the Jessica McClintock meets Laura Ashley dream dress from my teen years. Nigel gave them a standing ovation.  Mary said the beginning was "dreamlike," while Misty commented that it was Valerie's night.  This was easily my favorite dance of the evening - absolutely beautiful.

Carly told America that Serge is friends with Maks and Val from Dancing With the Stars.  We then saw a clip of them playing pool together.  Serve said that Carly joined the college dance team.  They danced a Luther Brown hip hop number clothed as skeletons.  The song was "Senile" (Young Money).  The dance was very ominous and hard hitting -- not my cup of tea.  I agree with Nigel, who did not care for it.

Tanisha told America that Rudy has a crush on Jacque.  Rudy said that Tanisha has a massive family.  They then performed a Broadway number choreographed by Warren Carlyle.  It was danced to "Sing Sing Sing" from Fosse and included cane tricks and a soft shoe routine.  It was truly a showstopper!

My favorites of the night were Valerie and Ricky, Tanisha and Rudy, and Bridget and Emilio.  I also thought Zack and Jacque were very good.

The judges decided that Stanley and Jourdan would go home based on America's vote.   I think this was the right choice.

Looking forward to next week's show already!   I wonder who the guest judge will be?  I would love to see Adam Shankman or Twitch back on the judging panel.

What did you think of the Top 18 show?  Did the right dancers go home?  You can leave comments below.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Taking a short blog break

Hi bloggy friends!

I will be offline more than usual the next week or so.  I'll try to keep up with my So You Think You Can Dance recaps, and I also have a pending book review.   Will be back with daily updates ASAP.

Hope you have a good rest-of-the-week!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Music Monday - "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself" - Dusty Springfield (1964)

My Music Monday song this week is "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself" by Dusty Springfield.  This song was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and it was a hit in 1964.  I think it may be one of the best breakup songs ever, with lyrics including:

"I just don't know what to do with my time
I'm so lonesome for you it's a crime
Going to a movie only makes me sad
Parties make me feel as bad
When I'm not with you
I just don't know what to do"

I heard this song on XM Radio yesterday (60's on 6) and it has been stuck in my head ever since.  In this case, with such a great song, this is not a bad thing ... so I'm passing it along to you.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Retro Recipe: Old Fashioned Rice Pudding

This is my first Retro Recipe post.  I will go through some favorite cookbooks here and find some fun vintage recipes to share with you from time to time.

I have a small personal collection of cookbooks that I love, mostly Savannah, Atlanta, vintage cookbooks for children, vegetarian cooking, and baking.   I love to bake!  These cookbooks are on a wall of my dining room, and I enjoy reading them, as well as cooking.

I also sell vintage cookbooks in my shop.  My favorite cookbooks to sell include community cookbooks (from churches, schools, and civic associations) and product cookbooks (like the one you see pictured above).  You will find my cookbooks for sale here:  vintage cookbooks at Birdhouse Books

The retro recipe of the day is Old Fashioned Rice Pudding.  This recipe was found in the little cookbook 75 Glamorous Rice Dishes, published by the Louisiana State Rice Milling Company.

Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding

1 1/4 cups cold cooked Water Maid or Mahatma Rice
2 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup seedless raisins
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of cinnamon and nutmeg

Cook and cool rice or use leftover rice.  Beat eggs light and thick, fold in milk.  Lightly mix in remaining ingredients.  Place in buttered 1 1/2 quarter casserole.  Bake in shallow pan of water at 350 degrees F. (moderate oven) about 1 hour, until a silver knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Serve with cream, caramel sauce, or lemon sauce.  6 Servings.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The 1, 2, 3's of Shopping at Yard Sales

 Ah!   During yard sale season (which runs from March until early November here) a sign like the one pictured brings joy to my heart.  As a vintage seller (children's books, cookbooks, and cards), I shop yard sales for work.  The treasure hunting aspect of yard sales is real and fun.

I usually shop with my best friend, who hunts for vintage books, religious art, architectural items, and the quirky, unusual, and fun.   We have a rating system for yard sales:

1.  This is a great sale, usually either multi-generation, multiple families, or an older person conducting the sale.  Vintage items abound!  Prices are fair.  Items are on shelves or tables and easy to see.

2.  This is a good sale with nice things, occasionally something for us, but often things we don't buy - i.e. baby clothes, electronics, CDs, DVDS, etc.

3.  This is the sale with boxes of junk pulled out of a basement, broken items, old mattresses.  Yikes - how soon can we get out of here?!

Most sales we find are 2's on our scale, with perhaps one or two 1 sales on any given day.   Those 1 rating yard sales make it all worthwhile.

The most amazing sale I ever went to was a multi-generation estate sale, family run, that went on for a whole weekend.  I kept going back and back and buying car loads of treasures.  This was perhaps 10 years ago -- I bought paper dolls, vintage children's books, vintage toys, and more.

I almost purchased a First Edition of Gone With the Wind at that sale.  It had a long two page inscription to the original owner from Margaret Mitchell.  Just as I was checking out, someone from the family holding the sale decided they couldn't part with the book ... so I lost out.

The nicest find I ever purchased at a yard sale was a baseball book called The Splendid Splinter about Ted Williams.  I know very little about baseball, but purchased this on a whim for $1.00.  I could not find an online reference for it, so I started bidding at $49.99 on eBay.  Someone immediately wrote me and asked if I would close the auction for $100.  I knew at that point that this was a great find.   It sold for over $600 to a baseball collector, and I was thrilled.

My most embarrassing yard sale story was when my friend and I were going through a neighborhood and stopping at neighborhood sales marked with balloons on the mailbox.  One house had balloons of a different color and style, but we assumed this was just coincidental.  There were a lot of cars out front.  We went into the garage, which was crowded with great stuff.  I took two vintage pictures off the wall.  We didn't see a place to check out, so we assumed the sale was inside the house as well (as sales sometimes are).  We opened the door ... to find a birthday party being held for an elderly man.  It was not a yard sale at all!  We were mortified and highly apologetic.  We left as quickly as possible.

I have many more stories, and more blog posts to come about yard sale adventures!

I will offer three tips for you about yard saling:

1.  Take small bills.  Don't lose out on a sale because a seller cannot make change.

2.  If you are purchasing a stack of items, ask for a bulk deal, i.e. "what would you take for this stack?"

3.  Be friendly!  Be nice!  I always speak to the seller as I enter the garage or house, and usually say something nice as well (i.e. "beautiful day for a sale!" or "you have lots of neat things here").  I am chatty and often find that sellers will show me other books that they hadn't put out.  I have found some of my best estate lots just by being friendly.

Sales have been a little sparser this year.  Maybe it's the economy, or the extreme heat and humidity we have had in Georgia recently.   The little stack you see below is what I found today:  10 or 12 children's books, a sewing pattern, and a community cookbook.  But -- we had fun, and I know there is always next week waiting!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Fave: History Detectives

My Friday Fave this week is History Detectives Special Investigations on PBS.  History Detectives has not aired in my area in at least a couple of summers, so it is wonderful to see it back again.  You can find air times in your area at the official website:  History Detectives.

History Detectives is an hour long show.  Each show focuses on a mysterious event in American history.  The detectives - Wes Cowan, Tukufu Zuberi, and Kalema Glover - delve into the events to learn unknown facts that will help to solve the mystery.

The case this week involved the disappearance of Big Band musician and band leader Glenn Miller, who disappeared on a flight across the English Channel during World War II.  It was absolutely fascinating.

Previous seasons of the show dealt with historical artifacts and objects.  This season is focusing more on bigger historical mysteries.

If you are not watching this series, I very highly recommend it!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

So You Think You Can Dance - Top 20 (2 Sent Home)

This week on So You Think You Can Dance the Top 20 performed, and two dancers were sent home.

The guest judge this week was Misty Copeland, prima ballerina of the American Ballet Theatre.

The show opened with a fun group number to "New York, New York" from On the Town, choreographed by Josh Bergasse.  Emilio had a scene stealing bit with a baseball bat.

After the opening number, the judges appeared in baseball jerseys as a tribute to the upcoming MLB All-Star Game on Fox.

Then the bottom 6 dancers were announced:   Brooklyn, Jourdan, Malena, Casey, Nick, and Serge.  The final decision would be made after all 20 dancers performed as planned.

This week the partners were switched, and the partnerships will remain the same until the Top 10, unless a dancer is eliminated.

Tanisha and Rudy performed a Sonya Tayeh jazz number to "You Need" (Bengsons).  Sonya called the number "grimy and aggressive."  The dancers wore punk rock costumes.  Misty told Tanisha, "You are fierce, girl."  I also think Tanisha was a standout in this routine.

Valerie and Ricky danced a Travis Wall contemporary number to "Oh Darling" (Gossling).  It was about the one that got away.  Travis commented, "Ricky needs to pull Valerie up to his level."  I enjoyed this dance, especially Ricky.

Bridget and Emilio danced a Luther Brown hip hop number to "Work" (Iggy Azalea).  It was about a guy's flirtation with a nerd girl turned "bombshell."  It was fun and light, but not particularly memorable.

Jessica and Nick danced a Benji Schwimmer West Coast Swing number to "Respect" by Aretha Franklin.  (Thank you show for including some older music for viewers who are over 40.)    I love Benji, and was happy when he won Season 2.   I often watch the show with a group of friends, and we had a running joke that season.  There was a girl who appeared in the Season 2 audience with a huge sign that said, "I baked cookies for Benji."  After that we made cookies (several times) while we watched the show.  And yes, they were of course for Benji.   Despite this Benji fandom, I have to say that the West Coast Swing number fell apart.  Nigel criticized the choreography and the dancers.

Carly and Serge performed a Sonyah Tayeh contemporary dance to "Latch" (Sam Smith).  It was a tribute to unbreakable love and it was beautiful.  Serge really stood out as a strong, emotive dancer.

Emily and Teddy performed a Dave Scott hip hop dance to "Don't" (Ed Sheeran).  The dance was about a sexy flirtation, but I did not see much chemistry or connection between the dancers.

Malene and Stanley performed a Spencer Liff Broadway jazz number to "I've Got Your Number" (Nancy Wilson).  (Yes, I love this song -- it is exactly my cup of tea!)   The dance was prop dependent, with telephones on long cords.  The idea was fun and retro but the performance was lackluster.   I was disappointed, as Malene and Stanley are two of my early favorites.

Jourdan and Marcquet performed a Sean Cheesman jazz number to "Work Work" by Britney Spears.  It was about a sexy interrogation.  Marcquet is such a dynamic dancer.  Misty called Marcquet out on his facial expressions (too serious) and Nigel called Jourdan out on her facial expressions as well (too smiley).

Brooklyn and Casey performed a Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo tango to "Gallo Ciego" (Luis Bravo's Forever Tango).  I really liked Casey in this number.

Jacque and Zack performed a Sean Cheesman African jazz number to "Dibiza" (Danny Teraglia).   The costumes, makeup, and backdrop were bright, groovy colors.   This number was a real standout - lots of fun and very high energy.

The judges called the dancers in the bottom 6 onstage.   Malena and Nick were sent home.  I am disappointed about Malena, as she was my favorite of the ballroom girls.  

The judges will continue making the final decision (counting in the votes by viewers) until the Top 10.  Then the decision will be solely up to the viewer votes.

Did you watch SYTYCD this week?  If so, what did you think of the dance performances?  Were the right dancers sent home?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Waking with Thoughts of Vintage Sunday School Cards

Here's the thing about selling vintage cards and books for a living:  you never know when you'll have a random thought about something unusual you have found.  You might be eating tacos or going to the hardware store when you suddenly think about flocked Christmas cards or a recipe for a Floating Island.

Today I woke up thinking about vintage Sunday School cards. I grew up going to Sunday School regularly, and loved it - especially craft projects like decorating pictures of sheep with cotton balls and singing songs. I recall getting postcards in the mail a few times when I was sick and couldn't go on Sunday. 

A few years ago I found a selection of Sunday  School postcards.  Most were for teens, to be sent by their Sunday School teacher if they missed a Sunday School class.  If you'd like to take a peek at these cards, you'll find them here:  Vintage Sunday School Cards at Birdhouse Books.

The card above is especially striking.  It pictures a woman who isn't there.  The postcard reads:  "Where were you last Sunday?  We've Missed You.  Come Next Sunday".   

The card above must be from the 1960's with the Space Age theme.  " Get Back In Orbit - We Missed You Sunday."

This card (above) reminds me of "The Telephone Hour" from Bye Bye Birdie.  A teen boy and girl talk on the phone.  The boy is lounging in his letterman's sweater.  "A Person to Person Invitation."

This card is a little different.  It features a line of boys with the message:  "We fall in but we don't fall out.  We want you as a member of our jolly good class."   This card was sent for a Rally Day in Atlanta in 1938.  I didn't grow up with Rally Days, so looked them up.  A Rally Day celebrated the start of a new church year, usually in September or October.  Children graduated from one Sunday School class to another at this time.  Interesting!   Another of those neat tidbits you learn working with vintage paper.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book Giveaway: A Little Coffee Cookbook

Hi all!

Just because it is Tuesday and I'm clearing some space on my shelves here ... I'm hosting a giveaway to win A Little Coffee Cookbook by Janet Laurence.

This gently used cookbook is very cute, with 60 pages of delicious recipes using coffee.   I am removing some of the newer cookbooks from my store, Birdhouse Books, in order to make more shop space here.  You will find many vintage cookbooks in my shop (along with children's books and vintage cards galore!).

Entry is easy, with the Rafflecopter form below.   The giveaway will close on Tuesday, July 15 at 11:59 PM.  I will use Rafflecopter to randomly draw a winner.

Thanks for visiting my site, and I hope you'll enter for this cute cookbook.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 7, 2014

Music Monday - "Nothing But a Heartache" by The Flirtations (1968)

"Nothing But a Heartache" is one of my all time favorite songs.  It combines many things I love:  retro soul, girl group music, and a melody that is catchy and dynamic.

The Flirtations recorded this song in 1968, and it was a hit for the group, making the Hot 100 list.  The Flirtations started recording in 1962 as the Gypsies.   Two of the singers were sisters from South Carolina.  They were marketed as being like the Supremes, and there are some real similarities in sound and performance style.

"Nothing But a Heartache" became a Northern Soul hit.  Northern Soul music was soul music that achieved popularity in dance clubs in Northern England, Scotland, and Wales in the mid-1960's.  Northern Soul songs were typically by less well known artists.  They were uptempo with a good beat for dancing.

I have loved this song for years.  I have it on my Blackberry, my iPad ... and now I am happy to share it with you, too.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Book Review: Breathe by Elena Dillon (Young Adult Novel)

"Most days I can almost forget someone murdered my sister. I try to go through every day like a normal sixteen-year-old. I can eat breakfast, go to school, do homework, but then something will remind me that my family will never be the same." (Breathe, Elena Dillon)

With these memorable lines we meet high school junior Jasmine Rourke.  Jasmine's sister, Daisy, was murdered in Los Angeles, and the killer was never caught.  Because of lingering media attention and concern for her family's safety, Jasmine's mother moves the family to Lafayette, Louisiana.  Jasmine, her younger twin siblings, and her mother try to settle in and find normalcy. 

Jasmine starts back to school, meets a cute boy, makes new friends ... and then the eerie reminders of her sister, Daisy, start:  a bouquet of daisies in her school locker, an odd text from a number she cannot trace.  Is she being pranked or stalked?   Are Jasmine and her family in danger again?

Breathe is a romantic suspense novel for young adult readers.  It is suspenseful, but not too intense for the teen audience.  It is fast paced, with likable characters (especially the protagonist, Jasmine), and would be a great summer reader for a teen who enjoys combining mystery and love story.

I liked the southern setting, and appreciated the way that Jasmine's personal faith was quietly woven into the storyline (she goes to church and prays).  Her family is also well drawn - with a strong but cautious mom, mischievous younger brother, and sensitive younger sister.

Easton, Jasmine's romantic interest, is a southern knight in shining armor.  He is strong and kind, with a maturity and gentleness that is sure to appeal to young readers.

Elena Dillon's writing flows well and her characterizations ring true.  The dialogue moves quickly.  This is a short book, and I think it is one that young adult readers will enjoy.

Thanks to MMW Authors for a review copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Trip to the DeKalb Farmers Market

Today is the second day of a long holiday weekend, and this morning I got together with my best friend for breakfast at our favorite deli and shopping.  We ended the morning at the DeKalb Farmers Market in Decatur (Atlanta).  This is a huge 140,000 square foot farmers market.  It is a world market, with produce and packaged foods from all over the world.  The employees also have diverse backgrounds, and they wear a list of all the languages they speak on their name tags.   

Saturday, especially on a holiday weekend, is not an ideal time to shop here because it is VERY crowded.  I wish I had taken a photo of the parking lot.  It was full!

I love going to the farmers market, and wanted to share the experience with you here.

The DeKalb Farmers Market is at 3000 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue, Decatur.  This is just a few blocks from the Decatur MARTA station, between Decatur and Scottdale.  It is part of the metro Atlanta area.

The landscaping is really nice.
This is the market as you first drive into the parking lot.
A view of the market from the center of the store, looking down.  This picture gives you an idea of how big the farmers market is.
The flags overhead represent the world market.

I love the imported Italian pasta!
Look at this variety of lentils:
Here is a glimpse of the HUGE produce section.  If you can think of any favorite fruit or vegetable, you can find it here.
The market stocks their own packaged spices.  They have a great variety, and the prices are terrific.
Tofu!  They have a number of varieties, including baked tofu.  I'm a longtime vegetarian, and this is a great place for vegetarian and vegan shoppers.
Georgia Peaches.  I just had to take a picture. 
Yes, we have some bananas!
The farmers market has a wonderful selection of cut flowers (again, very cheap!).
I love the range of colors here.
The market has a great selection of fresh baked bread.  I love their croissants!
They have a big cafeteria with a couple of lines of food, including hot dishes and a salad bar.
Soy cheese and Lightlife vegetarian products including Tofu Pups and lunch slices.  I am a big Lightlife fan!
If you like homemade pizza, fresh pasta sauce - and of course homemade pasta as well - you'll find a nice selection here.
And just by the huge room (!) of cashiers, you'll find a great selection of coffee:
I had fun on my visit to the farmers market today, and hope you enjoyed this little photo tour as well.  

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July: In Praise of Thundershirts

Happy 4th of July!   I hope you have a fun day (and a great long holiday weekend).  

I'm looking forward to a fun, relaxing weekend.  I'll plan to be home in the evenings because of fireworks.  Fireworks are legal in Atlanta, and you can see stands in shopping center parking lots;  the local grocery store even sells fireworks.  

My youngest dog, Abby (a 4 year old Dachshund/Jack Russell mix) is terrified of fireworks, thunder, and loud noises in general.  I always plan to be home on fireworks holidays so I can put Abby in her Thundershirt and comfort her.  The Thundershirt is a wonderful invention;  it really helps Abby with loud noises.   It is made of stretchy fabric, and wrapped snugly with velcro.  Effectively, it snuggles against a dog who wears it because he or she is afraid of noise.

Whatever you have planned, I hope you have lots of fun!  What are you up to this long weekend?   If you have dogs or cats, how do they do with the noise of summer holidays (fireworks)?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

So You Think You Can Dance: Top 20 Show

Hooray!  So You Think You Can Dance auditions are over and the actual competition has begun.  This week the Top 20 danced in pairs, in their favored dance style, to compete for a role in Broadway's On the Town and the title of America's Favorite Dancer.

Singer/dancer Jason Derulo joined Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe on the judging panel.  While his comments were not as in depth as some of the dancers and choreographers who judge (i.e. Adam Shankman, Twitch, Kenny Ortega, Debbie Allen), he took the process seriously and offered thoughtful critiques.

The performances included:

Brooklyn and Serge - Cha Cha choreographed by Dimitry Chaplin, performed to "Hell Yeah" (Midnight).  Serge stood out in this number (and not just because he was sweating profusely!).   Brooklyn did not come off as strongly as he did.

Emily and Casey - Contemporary choreographed by Travis Wall, performed to "All of Me" (John Legend).  Emily and Casey performed a  dance about a couple arguing.  Emily's extensions were lovely!  I had forgotten how charming Casey is.

Valerie and Zak - Tap Dance choreographed by Anthony Morgierato, performed to "Sing" (Ed Sheeran).  Valerie and Zack did an ambitious number involving a staircase.  It did not have the speed and lightness that I like in tap, but it was a fun number.  Loved Valerie's red tap shoes!

Bridget and Stanley - Contemporary choreographed by Bonnie Story, performed to "Doesn't Mean Goodbye" by Jon McLaughlin.  Stanley has star power - love his presence on stage.  He had great elevation with his leaps.

Jacque and Jourdan - Ballet choreographed by Marat Daukayev, performed to "Pas de Deux - Black Swan" (Tchaikovsky).  The girls were both dressed in black.  They look very much alike, and neither really stood out in this number.  Their synchronicity was off a bit at the end.

Malena and Marcquet - Brazilian Samba choreographed by Louis Van Amstel, performed to "Morning Drums" (Gregor Salto).  Loved everything about this performance.  Samba rolls!  Marcquet is a star!

Carly and Rudy - Contemporary choreographed by Stacy Tookey, performed to "Take It Easy" (Jetta).  Rudy's goofy personality in the pre-dance interview is charming.  He does not have the technical skill of some of the other dancers.

Emilio and Teddy - Hip Hop choreographed by Christopher Scott, performed to "Nightshift" (The Commodores).  The lyrical hip hop number was about a janitor and security guard dancing after hours.  It was fun!  Emilio has a great personality on stage.

Jessica and Ricky (pictured above) - Contemporary choreographed by Sonya Tayeh, performed to "Vow" (Meredith Monk).  I think Ricky is the dancer to beat this season.  This number was amazing!  I loved the move where he carried Jessica on her back, while she was in full standing position.  Nigel said that this dance was "another level entirely," and I agree completely.

Tanisha and Nick - Cha Cha choreographed by Louis Van Amstel, performed to "I'm a Freak" (Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull).  Fun number but not as dynamic as the other Cha Cha by Malena and Marcquet.

Two dancers will be eliminated next week.  Who is in danger?   There are a lot of contemporary girls, and I think they sort of run together.  I also believe that the two ballet dancers will cancel each other out with votes, probably sooner than later.  I think we may see the following dancers in the bottom three:



I'm looking forward to next week's show already!  Did you watch SYTYCD last night?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments, below.