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!

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. 

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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,


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Throwback Thursday - Cursive and National Handwriting Day

January 23 is National Handwriting Day.  This is a day dedicated to good old fashioned handwriting.

When I was in elementary school, handwriting class was part of our daily lessons.  Teachers would have charts that pulled down, and more charts on top of the blackboard, and we would practice writing on lined paper - first printing (in the younger grades) and then cursive.  I really struggled with the traditional cursive, slanted right, everything connected and uniform.

My natural writing is straight up and down, and loopy.  It is a combination of printing and cursive.  It's neat and very legible.  I like to write with a felt pen (often a sign pen) on paper.  It gives a bold, clear appearance that I like.  I also love fountain pens and have a couple of them here. 

There is a trend in some school systems to no longer teach cursive.  I personally think that there is value in writing long form.  I was a creative writing major, and find that writing long form vs. writing on a computer is a different process, and produces different results.  I write poetry in long form.  I journal in long form.  I blog and write articles on the computer.

There is also something about the beauty of a handwritten letter.  This is something unique and rare in today's world.  When I receive a handwritten letter, or a card with a handwritten note, I treasure it.

Here are a few suggestions on how to celebrate National Handwriting Day:

Write a letter.
Write a poem or short story in long hand.
Write in a journal.
Write a list of your goals.
Write a gratitude list (things that make you happy).
Practice your signature.
Write your signature and then doodle around it.  Make it into art.

Do you remember learning cursive in school?  Do you still write in long hand?   Will you be doing anything to celebrate National Handwriting Day?   I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Bee My Valentine, Honey - Vintage Valentine

Found at Birdhouse Books:  Vintage Valentines

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Murder at the Grill by Christa Nardi


An amateur sleuth, Sheridan Hendley jumps at the chance to work with the defense when a favorite waitress is arrested for the murder of her ex-husband. Determined to prove Zoe’s innocence Sheridan probes into the victim’s past and why he chose to return to Cold Creek 15 years after the divorce. Personalities clash and Zoe’s family closes ranks as Sheridan attempts to unlock the carefully kept secrets of the family that owns and operates the Grill. The closer she gets to finding the truth, the more her own life might be in danger – a situation that strains her increasingly serious relationship with Detective Brett McMann.

About The Author

Christa Nardi is and always has been an avid reader. Her favorite authors have shifted from Carolyn Keene and Earl Stanley Gardner to more contemporary mystery/crime authors over time, but mystery/crime along with romance and scifi/fantasy are her preferred choices for leisure reading. Christa also has been a long time writer from poetry and short stories to the Cold Creek series, Christa has joined many other reader/writers in writing one genre she enjoys reading – the cozy mystery. The series started with Murder at Cold Creek College; Murder in the Arboretum is the second in the series. Murder at the Grill is the third. Christa Nardi is a pen name for a real life professor/psychologist from the Northeast who is well published in nonfiction and technical venues. 

Author Links
Purchase Link Amazon

(2) e-book copy of Murder at the Grill by Christa Nardi.  Ends 1/25.
 a Rafflecopter giveaway