Monday, November 30, 2015

Music Monday - "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant" - Billy Joel (1977)

"Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" was on Billy Joel's The Stranger album (1977).  It was never a '45, but it still got airplay back in the 1970's ... and I always have to turn it up when it comes on SiriusXM.

The song has three parts:  a gentle opening about two classmates meeting for a glass of wine, a jazz section with lots of brass, and then a rock section about Brenda and Eddie.  It's a complex composition, and I think a pretty amazing song.

Do you remember this one?  What is your favorite Billy Joel song?   I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Weekend Window Shopping at Birdhouse Books - Vintage Christmas

Happy Small Business Saturday! 

Please remember your favorite local and online small businesses today  as you enjoy your holiday weekend.

I have a 25% off sale running all weekend, through midnight on Cyber Monday (November 30).  I also have many new Christmas arrivals in my store ... with more Christmas items added the next couple of weeks.  You will find all these unique gifts at Birdhouse Books on eBay

Children's Advent and Christmas is a rare 1966 vintage book by Vita Et Pax.

Wumpy's Christmas Gift is a vintage picture book for children by Nancy Nash, with illustrations by Richard Floethe (1956)

Mortimer's Christmas Manger is a picture book about a little mouse who discovers the real meaning of Christmas after he takes up residence in a manger.  It was written by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman.

Holiday Recipes Around the World for Electric Cooking and Baking is a cute 1960 vintage cookbook booklet.

The Little Drummer Boy is a DVD of the classic children's special by Rankin Bass.

This Christmas postcard features a little boy and girl discovering a tree with candles and fruit outdoors.

This Christmas postcard features a little boy and girl with a snowman who holds an umbrella.  This looks like an Ellen Clapsaddle illustration.

This especially sweet Christmas postcard features a little girl with an old fashioned teddy bear.

Santa Claus wishes a village a Merry Christmas with the help of an old fashioned megaphone on this postcard.

A sweet little girl puts shamrocks on a snowman on this charming Christmas postcard.

This Coronation Collection vintage Christmas card features a mailbox full of wrapped gifts.

A sweet mother deer and her fawn rest in the woods on a snowy day on this vintage Christmas card.

I hope you've found some treasures here, and hope you'll visit my store as well:  Birdhouse Books.   Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Dear Abby - Thankful, A Roundup

Dear Friends,

I hope you had an extra nice Thanksgiving!  I had a fun day with company and treats, and am taking it easy today.   Above you'll find a Calling All Girls magazine cover from 1960.   I hope the doxie with the wishbone gets her wish!

This day after Thanksgiving I would love to share a roundup of past posts with you ... things that I am thankful for.

I am thankful for family:
My first post here, with my rescue story
Remembering my brother, Barney Fife (1997 - 2014) 
My 6th birthday!

I am thankful for dachshund books:
David Hockney's Dog Days 
Katie and the Puppy Next Door
My favorite dachshund book
A dachshund's life in 1963 

I am thankful for fun dog videos:
Dachshund puppy with an iPad 
A special dog train
"I'm a Dachshund" song 
I am thankful for cute dachshund photos and illustrations:
Dachshund postcards
How to Be a Dachshund 
Dachshund pictures from Pinterest
Pets in Halloween costumes
Calling All Girls - vintage Halloween covers

I am also very thankful to YOU for visiting my blog and giving me the opportunity to share dog posts with you here.   I love my blog friends!

Love and xoxoxo,

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Did You Know Tuesday - The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Do you watch the Macy's Thanksgiving parade?   I love it and have watched it every Thanksgiving - often, as an adult, scurrying back and forth from the kitchen while cooking.

The Macy's Thanksgiving parade started in 1924 and featured Macy's employees in New York City dressed up in costumes walking the route, as well as riding on some creative floats.  Over 250,000 spectators watched the first parade.

Felix the Cat was the first balloon float in 1927.  The parade organizers did not have plans to save the balloon after the parade, so they let it just float off.

Artist, puppet designer, and children's book illustrator Tony Sarg designed many of the early balloons.  He also did a parade theme window display for the store.

This Tony Sarg designed dachshund balloon was released after the 1929 parade:

The parade became increasingly popular through the 1930's.  It was suspended from 1942 - 1944 because of World War II.

The 1947 movie Miracle on 34th Street featured Macy's and the parade, and this only added to the parade's popularity.  The first television broadcast was in 1948.

This is Frieda the dachshund, from the 1950's parade era:

This Elsie the Cow balloon from the 1963 parade promoted the 1964 - 1965 New York World's Fair:

Betty White and Lorne Green hosted the 1965 parade:

Performances are popular both before the parade and on floats.  Classics include the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, high school bands, and of course, the arrival of Santa Claus at the end of the parade.

Do you enjoy the Macy's parade?  What are your favorite floats or balloons?   I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Music Monday - "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music (1965)

It's hard to find Thanksgiving songs!  I thought about songs with the words "thanks" or "thank you" in the title, and songs about feeling thankful or happy.  That brought me to "My Favorite Things."  "My Favorite Things" is, of course, from The Sound of Music (1965).  In the musical, the Von Trapp children are scared of a thunderstorm.  Their governess, Maria (Julie Andrews), sings a song to them about how she always fights off fear by remembering her favorite things.  Then there is a wonderful list of things that are her favorites.  There are some really lovely lines in this song, like "Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings" and (my favorite!) "Silver white winters that melt into springs."  

This song - and movie - are on my favorite things list.  I love The Sound of Music.  It is the movie I've seen most in my life, from the time I was very little, and it never fails to make me feel happy, comforted, and uplifted.   

Are you a Sound of Music fan?  Do you have a favorite song about being thankful, or a song for Thanksgiving?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Book Review and Giveaway - An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

There's no getting out of Christmas now, despite Katie rejecting Micah's marriage proposal. Cozy up this holiday season with Cynthia Ruchti's new novella, An Endless Christmas. The Binder family celebrates every Christmas as if it were their last. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it’s Christmas.

My Review:

Endless Christmas is a such a heartwarming Christmas read.  It is a love story, but also a story about family.

The book begins with a twist, as Kate rejects Micah's marriage proposal.  This happens, unfortunately, at his family's house at Christmas time.  Kate and Micah are there for the visit ... and sorting everything out.

I really loved the warm-hearted, loving Binder family.  Getting to know them in this novel was one of my favorite things about this book.  I especially loved the Binder grandparents, Dodie and Wilson.

The setting of small town Stillwater, Minnesota, was perfect for this cozy holiday read.  I love novels set in picturesque small towns, and Stillwater was an especially nice visit.

There is inspiration to be found in the way Kate works through her dysfunctional family past, and comes to view love differently.

This is a warm, inspiring read for the Christmas season.  I highly recommend it as a holiday reading treat.

About the Author:
Drawing from 33 years of on-air radio ministry, Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels and novellas, nonfiction books and devotionals, and speaking for women’s and writers’ events. Her books have been recognized by Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Selah Awards, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Christian Retailing’s BEST Awards, and Carol Award nominations, among other honors, including a Family Fiction Readers’ Choice Award. She and her plot-tweaking husband live in Pittsville, Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.

Find out more about Cynthia at

Celebrate the holidays with Cynthia and An Endless Christmas by entering her $100 Target gift card giveaway!

endless christmas-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of An Endless Christmas
  • A $100 gift card to Target
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 30th. The winner will be announced December 1st on Cynthia's blog.

endless christmas-enterbanner

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Weekend Window Shopping at Birdhouse Books - November 21, 2015

Hi vintage friends,

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in my shop!  I am listing new items daily at eBay - Birdhouse Books on eBay.  If you prefer Etsy, I also have a smaller shop there:  Birdhouse Books on Etsy.

These vintage cards will all be on eBay by Sunday evening.  There are some cute ones featured!

1960's vintage Christmas card featuring little drummer boys and a bold Rum-Pa-Pum-Pum 

Older vintage Christmas postcard featuring little girls reading a picture book.  The card is trimmed in older (dark) glitter.

Vintage Christmas card with a gel finish -- a hand-tinted photo of a little boy and girl making a snowman. 

Adorable English Spring Spaniel puppy dogs with holly trim - early 1900's vintage Christmas postcard.

This 1950's die-cut Christmas card for a child features a little girl holding a stocking full of toys.

This 1920's vintage Christmas card has an illustration of a little girl by Charles Twelvetrees.

This lovely vintage Christmas card is die-cut around the harp and opens up to show a beautiful Victorian angel.

This 1960's vintage Christmas card features Santa Claus and a beagle puppy.

This vintage Christmas card features a little drummer boy - and some friendly birds.

This vintage Christmas card features a Mid-Century door decoration with greenery, pinecones, and bells.

This lovely vintage Christmas card features a stained glass window.

Vintage Christmas card featuring poinsettia flowers, a trumpet, and sheet music

And old fashioned country Christmas is depicted in this vintage card, with farm house, church, and covered bridge.

I hope you enjoyed these vintage cards.  I'll be listing lots of Christmas items during the next couple of weeks.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dear Abby - A Fun Dachshund Puppy Video

Dear Friends,

I am on the run this week.  It may be this way the next few weeks;  I help Momma with her work a lot over the holiday season.  This keeps me very busy, helping to list vintage children's books, Christmas cards, and ornaments at her store.  (It's Birdhouse Books on eBay, if you want to take a peek.)   By the way, I was the one who found the cute dachshund postcard that you see above!  I will try to keep in touch each Friday over the holiday season, but some of my posts may be short and sweet.

My friends Ginger Rose and Fergus sent me a really cute video last week that I thought you would enjoy, so I'm sharing a Friday smile with you.  The little dachshund puppy in this video is playing a game on iPad.  I asked Momma to find out what app this was, because it looks like fun.  For some reason she doesn't seem to think I should play on her iPad.  I'm not sure why!

I would love to hear from you, especially with any questions for future Dear Abby posts.  Anything related to dogs, life, vintage topics, retro pop culture ... I would love to answer your questions here.

Have a great weekend!

Love and xoxoxo,


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Marbles

Did you have marbles when you were a child?   I did.  Even as a little girl, I was always very visually oriented, and I loved the glass marbles with variations of color and design.  I remember flicking them around a bit but not really playing games with them as much.  I collected them in a jar and just enjoyed how pretty they were.   If you played with marbles, what types of games did you play?   (A nice link with some info on old fashioned marble games here:  LandofMarbles.)  I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Book Review and Giveaway - Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers

Book Description:

Award-winning writer and teacher Sally Allen knows that good books don’t just draw us in; they talk to us, shape us, and transport us to times, places, and minds different from our own.

In Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers, Allen deftly weaves personal stories with fifteen thematized, annotated, and illustrated reading lists for what to read next. By sharing some of the treasures in her library and the secret lives they reveal, she gives us permission to embrace the shameless book lover inside each of us. Unlocking Worlds is a testament to how reading passionately - and compassionately - can unlock the world beyond our back yard. 

Celebrating books and those who read them, Allen shows how the solitary act of reading can be a powerful thread that creates community and connection. Thought-provoking and eloquent, Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers is a must-have for anyone who can’t leave the house without a book in hand.

Buy the book: Amazon Barnes & Noble

My Book Review:

Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers is a wonderful resource for book lovers! There are 15 annotated reading lists throughout the book. The reading lists are thematic, in chapters:

Beloved Vintage and Classic Children's Books
Novels That Play With Time and Space
Traveler's Tales
Novels in Letters and Multiple Perspectives
Novels About Connection, Community, and Family
Novels About the American Experience
Novels About What Happens When Things Fall Apart
Books Set in Times of War - on the Battlefield and at Home
Novels That Explore Russian Life Before and After the Soviet Revolution
Books That Explore University Life
Novels That Thrill, Chill, and Keep You Guessing
Classic and Contemporary British Novels
Novels and Memoirs About the Reading Life
Books for Book Lovers
Reads for the Fall and Winter Holidays 

I have a deep, abiding love of vintage children's books, so I especially enjoyed that section of the book. I was delighted that one of my favorite series, All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor, was included as one of the selections.

I especially loved what the author said about revisiting childhood books: "Returning to these childhood worlds as adults can remind us of the lessons we learned and parts of ourselves we may have long forgotten." Yes! As a great fan of rereading classic children's books, I was especially delighted to read this chapter, in praise of children's literature for adults.

Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers is beautifully written by an author who clearly really loves books. This is a celebration of the joys of reading. It is sure to delight readers, and I think it would also be a fine, helpful reference for any book discussion group leader.

Author's Bio:

Award winning writer and teacher Sally Allen holds a Ph.D. from New York University in English Education, with an emphasis in writing and rhetoric, and a M.A. in English Language and Literature. She teaches writing, literature, and communications, leads book group discussions, and is the founder and editor of Books, Ink at HamletHub.

Connect with the author: Website Twitter


Prizes:5 winners will each get a copy of Unlocking Worlds & a copy of Book Life: A Book Lover's Journal

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I received a copy of this book from iRead Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Saint Bernard Puppies Vintage Postcard

Found at Birdhouse Books: Vintage Dog Postcards

Book Review and Giveaway - Crow Made a Friend by Margaret Peot


  • Series: I Like to Read
  • Paperback: 24 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House (August 10, 2015)
Try, try again is the lesson Crow teaches beginning readers in this picture book reader. Crow was all alone. But like all crows, he was very clever. Using autumn leaves for wings, sticks for the body and a crab apple for the head, Crow made a friend! But winter winds blew in, destroying his creation. Undaunted, Crow fashioned another bird friend out of snow but could not prevent it from melting in the warm spring sun. Alone again, Crow heard the caw, caw, caw of a real, live bird. Together they built a nest and by summer, Crow had a family. This warm, satisfying story, celebrates perseverance and ingenuity.

Links for more info about CROW MADE A FRIEND

Crow paper doll craft | Author’s Website | Activity Sheets

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Indiebound | Barnes & Noble

My Review

Crow Made a Friend is an especially lovely picture book for children.  It tells the story of Crow, who wants a friend.  He tries to make a bird out of twigs, but it blows away.  He makes a bird of snow, but it melts.  Finally he meets another bird, makes a friend, and then makes a family.

This is a short picture book.  It would be wonderful for a story time read aloud (i.e. for a preschool unit on birds), and it also would be a good book for a beginning reader.

The illustrations are vivid and beautiful, and they add much to the story.

I am a former preschool teacher, have a small online children's bookstore, and love children's books.  This book is exceptional in both the lovely, uplifting story and the beautiful illustrations.  I cannot recommend it highly enough for a home or school library. 


About Margaret Peot

Margaret is an artist, writer and costume painter. Margaret has two new books out in 2015, Stencil Craft (F&W) and an early reader picture book, Crow Made a Friend (Holiday House). Margaret’s book Inkblot: Drip, Splat and Squish Your Way to Creativity (Boyds Mills 2011) was awarded a Eureka! Silver Medal for non-fiction children’s books. She is also the author of The Successful Artist’s Career Guide (F&W 2012), Alternative Art Journals (F&W 2012), and Make Your Mark (Chronicle Books, 2004), voted one of Library Journal’s best how-to books of 2004.

An avid believer that art making can be for everyone, Margaret has presented art workshops with cancer survivors, elders, children, parent and teen groups, writers, nurses and caregivers, at The Creative Center at University Settlement’s Creative Aging conferences, and their Artist-in-Residence Training program, with EngAGE Utah, at Gilda’s Club, The Huntsman Cancer Institute, Operation Exodus in NYC, and at Miami University’s Scripps center with Dr. Like Lokon, and Opening Minds Through Art. 

Connect with Margaret

Website | | Facebook | Twitter |

Pinterest (Crow) | Pinterest (Birding) 


One lucky winner will receive a copy of the book (U.S. only).  Winner will need to respond to email notification within 48 hours.

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I received this book from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.