Saturday, January 30, 2016

Weekend Window Shopping at Birdhouse Books

Hi vintage friends!

I have more vintage Valentines listed, and over 100 more arriving in my store during the next couple of weeks.  If you love Valentines, please keep checking back:  Birdhouse Books on eBay - click here!

Here's a little preview!

Vintage Valentine with two little mummies, each in a sarcophagus:  "We Were Bound to Be Valentines!"

Vintage Valentine with a drummer bunny rabbit:  "My heart beats for you Valentine."

Vintage Valentine with a cute little girl in a robe:  "Wake Up!  Be Mine - I Love You."

1920's vintage Valentine with a little girl and purple plum:
Vintage Valentine with a little girl and dog:  "This little girl went to market."  1920's era.

1920's vintage Valentine with a little boy holding an orange tabby cat:
 Vintage Valentine featuring Romeo and Juliet - unusual!

Vintage Valentine with a wooden toy train:

Vintage Valentine with an owl:  "Who do I want for my Valentine?  You!"
 Vintage Valentine with a cute skunk:  "U odor be my Valentine."

Vintage Valentine with a little mouse beside a man's shirt and tie:  "Valentine - tye up with me.  I'm all yours!"
 Vintage Valentine with a Hawaiian theme.  A little boy climbs a a palm tree, while a girl waits beside the tree.  "Valentine, I'd like to climb into your heart because I'm nuts about you."

I hope you find some vintage goodies here!

Upcoming February Book Reviews

Hi all!  

Just a sneak peek at some reviews coming up in February.  The books pictured here are all scheduled with publicists or book tour companies.   I do have some unscheduled books (mostly mysteries and children's books)  to review over the next few months as well.  I hope you'll subscribe (right hand column of blog, "Follow by Mail") in order to get updates.  Some of these will have giveaways as well!

February looks like lots of historical fiction and women's fiction.

Moonlight Over Paris by Jennifer Robson

Beyond the Silence by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse

The Secret of Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale

The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy

The Rain Sparrow by Linda Goodnight

Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson

Kissed by a Cowboy by Debra Clopton

Friday, January 29, 2016

Dear Abby - A Very Happy Dachshund (Video)

 (vintage postcard from Birdhouse Books)

Dear friends,

Today I'm on the run ... warmer weather here and lots to do today!  I just wanted to pop in and share a sweet dachshund video with you.   I love this happy dog!

I'd love to hear from you in the comments.  I'm looking for questions to answer here.  They can be related to dogs, related to life, fun questions ... just send them in!

Love and xoxoxo,


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Late, Great Shopping Mall

When I was a little girl, going to the shopping mall was fun.  My favorite was North DeKalb Mall in Atlanta (Decatur area).  This mall was built in 1965, and it was enclosed.  It was a smaller mall, with all the shops on one level.  North Dekalb featured a Rich's department store, a wonderful Woolworth dime store, and other fun, like a Dipper Dan ice cream parlor and a Milton Bradley toy store.  

Rich's was special.  This Atlanta department store chain was a beloved institution.  (See my earlier blog post about Rich's here:  Return to Rich's, an exhibit at the Breman Museum.   I fondly remember shopping at Rich's, North DeKalb Mall for school clothes, Easter dresses, party dresses, books, and records.  (My first record album came from this store.)  There was a tea room upstairs, and I went to a few fashion shows with my Mom there.  I remember buying "Buffy dresses" (marketed to look like the clothes worn by Anissa Jones as "Buffy" on the 1960's television show Family Affair) after one of the fashion shows that featured children's clothes.   There was also a snack bar, and an amazing bakery (coconut cake, cupcakes, and more).

In high school I worked part-time in the Juniors Department, which I loved (cute clothes!).  Later, in college, I worked part-time one Christmas in housewares, which I also loved (I love kitchen gadgets and cookware).

Through the 1980's, this mall was still thriving, with a food court, a movie theater, and shops like The Gap, Old Navy, Hallmark, Casual Corner, The Limited, a bookstore, a music store, etc.  

At some point, Woolworth closed.  Then Rich's was bought by Federated, changed to Rich's-Macy's, and eventually evolved into Macy's.  It was still a nice store, and usually referred to as Rich's by people who grew up in the area.  

Then something happened.  National chain stores started closing and being replaced by discount stores and little local shops.  There was a high turnover rate for stores, and it seemed constantly in flux, with some blank spaces where shops had been.  Chain restaurants at the mall started moving out.  The mall changed.  It was no longer what I remembered from childhood.

The Macy's (former Rich's) at this mall held on.  It was a small but nice store.  I shopped there for linens, for birthday gifts, for Christmas ornaments.  I was very surprised to read the announcement last year that this lovely little department store would close.  It had been around most of my life and was such a childhood institution.  

Shopping malls are different now.  They aren't the destination they were when I was growing up.  The only thriving mall I can think of in this area is Lenox Square, an upscale mall in Buckhead (Atlanta).  The others have all changed, to varying extents, with closed stores, little local businesses taking over chain boutiques, high turnover, downsized food courts.   

So of course, I rarely visit the mall.  I shop online, I run to Target, I find other ways to shop.   And I miss the old fashioned malls from my childhood and teen years.

What are your shopping mall memories?  Have you seen the same trajectory with shopping malls in your area?   Are there any malls that still thrive?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below. 

Book Review and Giveaway - The Restaurant Critic's Wife by Elizabeth La Ban

Book Synopsis
What could be better than being married to a restaurant critic? All those amazing meals at the best restaurants…pure nirvana, right? Well, Lila Soto, the heroine of Elizabeth LaBan’s charming new novel, The Restaurant Critic’s Wife (Lake Union Publishing; January 5, 2016), might tell you otherwise. Sure the food is heavenly, but the downsides are considerable—especially being married to a man who is obsessed with his job and paranoid to the point of absurdity about being “outed” from his anonymity. Add to the scenario the fact that Lila has given up her own career to follow her husband’s job to a new, unfamiliar city, and that she is now a fulltime stay-at-home mom—a gig she never aspired to, despite loving her kids—and you begin to see why Lila is doubting every life decision she’s ever made.

Though it is not an autobiography by any means, it can’t be overlooked that Elizabeth LaBan is herself married to Philadelphia restaurant critic Craig LaBan. “This book wouldn’t exist without my husband,” she says, “who brings excitement, adventure, love, and great food into our lives every day, and has always been open to my writing a novel about a woman who is married to a wacky restaurant critic. For the record, Craig is not obsessive or controlling like Sam—and Craig did not tell me to say that.” But, even if her main characters are fictitious, there is no denying that Elizabeth draws on aspects of her own life to lend a delicious verisimilitude to the novel. 

The Restaurant Critic’s Wife is a charming portrait of the complexities of life that many women face when dealing with their marriages, their children, their friendships, and their careers. All the talk about exquisite food is merely the icing on a one-of-a-kind cake.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

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My Review 

I will admit it: I'm a foodie. I love cooking, reading cookbooks, reading about food, dining out, and reading foodie fiction. I've often thought it would be great fun to be a restaurant critic for a vegetarian magazine. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to review The Restaurant Critic's Wife.

This book was a terrific read. I enjoyed reading about the life of Lila and her husband, restaurant critic Sam. Their trips to restaurants, sometimes incognito, were fascinating. 

I really liked Lila as a protagonist. I empathized with her as she settled into life in a new city, especially as she left her job to be a stay-at-home mom. Sam was difficult at times (controlling!), and a big part of the novel centered on their marriage. 

This book felt real to me. It had humor, it had touching moments, and it had multi-dimensional, interesting characters

I would recommend The Restaurant Critic's Wife to other readers who enjoy contemporary women's fiction or a foodie novel. 

Author Bio
Elizabeth LaBan lives in Philadelphia with her restaurant critic husband and two children. She is also the author of The Tragedy Paper, which has been translated into eleven languages, and The Grandparents Handbook, which has been translated into seven languages.

Connect with Elizabeth

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Win a copy of the book.  Giveaway ends 2/4.  Winner will be notified by email, and will need to respond within 48 hours.  The book will be mailed by the author or her publicist.  Open to all readers in the U.S. and Canada.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Vintage Valentine Girl with Tabby Cat

Found at Birdhouse Books.

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Plain Dead by Emma Miller


When a newspaperman is murdered in the Amish community of Stone Mill, Pennsylvania, Rachel Mast digs up the dirt to find out who wanted to bury the lead… 

Although she left her Old Order Amish ways in her youth, Rachel discovered corporate life in the English world to be complicated and unfulfilling. Having returned to Stone Mill, she’s happy to be running her own B&B. But she’s also learning—in more ways than one—that the past is not always so easily left behind.

After local newspaperman Bill Billingsly is found gagged and tied to his front porch, left to freeze overnight in a snowstorm, Detective Evan Parks—Rachel’s beau—uncovers a file of scandalous information Billingsly intended to publish, including a record of Rachel pleading no contest to charges of corporate misconduct. Though Evan is certain of her innocence, it’s up to Rachel to find the real killer. A closer examination of the victim’s unpublished report leads Rachel to believe the Amish community is far from sinless. But if she’s not careful her obituary might be the next to appear in print…

About The Author

Emma Miller is the author of Redeeming Grace and Anna’s Gift.  She lives with her family in Kent County, Delaware.


Purchase Links
IndieBound –
B&N –


(2) Print Copy of Plain Dead by Emma Miller.  Ends 1/30/16.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Did You Know Tuesday - Tinkertoy

Do you remember Tinkertoy building sets?   I loved art related toys, but was not a huge fan of building toys as a child.  That said, when I played with building toys, I liked Tinkertoy the best.  This is a simple building set with little wheels and sticks in varying sizes.  I liked the wooden pieces and the bright colors.

This toy was invented in 1914 in Evanston, Illinois by Charles H. Pajeau, Robert Pettit, and Gordon Tinker.  Charles Pajeau saw children playing with wooden spools and sticks, and got the idea for this classic toy.  

The toy was originally marketed in Chicago with elaborate Tinkertoy displays, including a ferris wheel made of Tinkertoys.  Another Christmas display featured actors dressed as elves playing with this toy.

The sets originally sold for 60¢ with the name Thousand Wonder Builder.  Tinkertoys were packaged in a tube to reduce mailing costs.

2.5 million sets had been sold by 1918 -- in just four years.  This was a tremendously popular toy in the 1960's, when 2.5 million Tinkertoy sets sold yearly. 

The early sets were uncolored wood.  Red spools were added in 1932.  In 1953, red sticks were added, and in 1955 green, yellow, and blue sticks were also introduced.

This toy was added to the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1998.  It is considered a classic toy, still made in both wooden and plastic versions.

This ad is from 1964, during the heydey of Tinkertoy popularity.   Did you play with Tinkertoys?  What was your favorite building toy as a child?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Music Monday - Church Bells May Ring by The Willows (1956)

"Church Bells May Ring" is an old fashioned doo wop song.  Doo wop was a 1950's style of R&B music featuring vocal harmonies.  This was before my time, but I've discovered doo wop thanks to SiriusXM radio, and I truly love it.  I love a song with strong vocals, and especially with harmonies.

"Church Bells May Ring" was by The Willows.  This group hailed from Harlem, New York.  They started out as The Dovers, and then became The Five Willows.  Eventually they settled on The Willows as a group name.  The vocal group consisted of:  Tony Middleton (lead), Ralph Martin (tenor), Richie Davis (tenor), Joe Martin (baritone), and John Steel (bass).  This song charted at #114 on the Billboard record charts in 1956.

This song is new to me, but I love the energy and the great vocals.  And here's a bit of trivia -- Neil Sedaka plays the bells (chimes) on this record!

Do you like doo wop music and old fashioned 1950's vocals?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Weekend Window Shopping at Birdhouse Books

Hi friends!

I hope you're having a good weekend with no snow!  If you are spending time online, I hope you'll browse by my store.  I have Valentines and more Valentines and yet more Valentines there!

Birdhouse Books on eBay

Here are just a few of my new arrivals!

This vintage Valentine features a girl lying down with paper and pencil to do some figuring.  "No matter how I figure it, I must have you for my Valentine."

 A cute little mouse on this vintage Valentine says:  "For my Valentine - sugar and spice.  Gee, but you're nice!"

This vintage Valentine features an owl teacher at a blackboard.
 This vintage Valentine has a girl looking over her glasses.  "I speck we should get together now."
A cute pink bunny rabbit writes on the blackboard on this vintage Valentine.

This vintage Valentine has a sweet Dalmatian puppy with a big heart.

This die-cut vintage Valentine has bluebirds with "Valentine love to Mommy."

A little girl in a kilt plays the bagpipes with help from her Terrier dog on this vintage Valentine.
 This extra cute vintage Valentine features a tiger cub shopping at the grocery store!

A cute bunny rabbit paints at an easel on this vintage Valentine.
A boy and girl share an old fashioned soda on this vintage Valentine.  "Need a Valentine?  Soda I!"
A happy cat plays bongo drums on this groovy Valentine!

 A cute little sheepdog puppy has an old fashioned telephone on this vintage Valentine.

Goofy rides in an old fashioned car with Minnie Mouse on this 1960's vintage Valentine.

I hope you found some goodies here.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Dear Abby - Vintage Dachshunds in the Snow

Dear friends,

It is cold and wintry here.  We have not had snow this winter - yet! - but I am sure it is coming soon.  Thankfully we only get snow once or twice a year.  That is once or twice too much.   I am of the firm opinion that water belongs in water bowls, not in bathtubs, backyards, rain drops, or ESPECIALLY frozen and falling from the sky as snow.

While I am in a wintry mood, I decided to look through some vintage postcards for pictures of dachshunds.  I found some to share for you.  They are all by the artist Arthur Thiele.  He was a German illustrator who lived 1860 - 1936.  He did book illustrations and postcards ... and he loved pictures of dressed cats and dachshunds.

It looks like these dachshunds were going too fast on their sled!

Another sledding incident!  Maybe the dachshunds should stay inside where it is cozy and warm.

These dachshunds are in a toboggan and it looks like they are headed straight toward that snowman.

The dachshunds on this postcard are having a snowball fight! 

Do your dogs like the snow?   What do they think of it?  As always, I love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Love and xoxoxo,