Friday, October 21, 2011

Mr. Bingle 2011 Arrives!


Jingle, Jangle,'s time for this year's Mr. Bingle! 

Try as I might, I could not resist. In South Carolina, Mr. Bingle is not to be found. Most here probably don't know who he is, but I do. 

October rolled around and I knew stores would be putting out this year's Christmas items soon. I waited patiently, checking the New Orleans Dillard's website every few days for Mr. Bingle 2011 to make an appearance. Finally, on this past Sunday, there he was! I slept on it, trying to resist, but he was so cute in his little purple sweater with the gold Fleur-de-lis! On Monday morning I placed my order online and set in for the 4-7 day shipping wait. 

Wait, what's this? It seems that not only was Dillard's prompt in filling my order, but the good old USPS was on their best behavior too! On Wednesday (that's only 2 days) a nice package arrived containing my newest Mr. Bingle!



So, Mr. Bingle 2011 will take up residence this Christmas with my other Mr. Bingle's from 1987, 1996, 2007 and 2010. You can see the rest of my Mr. Bingle collection at this link

It's gonna be a jingle, jangle Christmas in S.C. for me!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Memories of a Timeless Birthday Card

Do you have a birthday card from your youth that's been tucked away for years, but you think of it now and then, remembering that time when you received it? I do and it's the one pictured here. It is one of the very few that I, not my mama, kept stored safely away. It has moved to new homes with me, once with my parents and three times since I married. Sometimes I forget just where I store it, but eventually it comes to the light of day when I do major cleaning, or just decide to see what's stored in this box or that drawer. More often, it comes up in my memory because I have always just loved this card.

I cannot remember for certain what age I was when this card came to me, but I was probably 10 years old, maybe a little younger, and that would make this card date from about 1957-1959. My Granny and Aunt (Daddy's mother & sister) sent it to me. My Granny couldn't sign it herself, she was partially paralyzed from a stroke, so my Aunt Lib signed the card for both of them. I loved my Granny, she was the only one I had as Mama's mother had died years before I was born.

YEARS and YEARS passed....I'm not telling how many exactly! (Though I am sure it isn't hard to figure by what I write in this post!) One day last year, I was in a CVS to buy a card to send to a friend, when something caught my eye....a NEW card that looked like the one sent by my Granny and Aunt all those years ago. I had to have it to compare to the card I had stored away. So home it came with me and into a drawer where I store other cards & would remember it's location the next time my "vintage" card showed up.....and that was today, so here are my two cards!!

On the left is the birthday card sent to me by my Granny & Aunt Lib when I was a young girl and, as I said, I'm guessing it was sometime in the late 1950s. I thought it was the prettiest card I had ever seen back then and I think I still do. On the right is the similar card I found in 2010. The colors are slightly different and the new card is much larger.

This is the inside of the 1950s era card. This card measures about 4 1/2 inches wide and 5 1/4 inches tall when closed, so opened like this it is about 9 inches wide. In this vintage card, the "pink girl" is on the left and the "green girl" is on the right. You can see where Aunt Lib has signed the card on the green skirt on the right.

This is the inside of the card I found in 2010. It measures 4 1/2 inches wide and 7 1/4 inches tall when closed, so the width when opened is the same 9 inches as the vintage card, but it is 2 inches taller. You can see the verse on both cards is the same, but the "pink girl" and the "green girl" are on opposite sides on this 2010 card than on the 1950s one.

On the left is the card from the 1950s, which says it is "A Forget-Me-Not Card", made in Cleveland, U.S.A., and the cost was 5 cents. On the right is the 2010 card, which is an American Greetings card, also made in Cleveland, Ohio. The cost of this new card, some 50 odd years later was $2.79. On this new card is this statement: "Written and designed by our founder, Irving Stone, this card has been an American Greetings classic since it was first published in 1932." So it seems that the "Forget-Me-Not" card company was a forerunner of today's American Greetings card company. I also have to say that Mr. Irving Stone must have been quite a man and I like his style.

The new card is still a pretty card, but my old, yellowed card from Granny & Aunt Lib is "prettier" in more ways because of who sent it and what it means to me. Time to tuck away my "vintage" card for safekeeping, but I'll store the new card with it "just because".

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I Say R...Rag....Ragg...Ragg Mopp....Rag Mop!

Three might be a collection, but there is only ONE of these as far as I am concerned. 
May I present my very first doll. A "rag doll" whose name is Ragg Mopp
....or Ragmop
....or Rag Mop....I really don't know at all how I spelled when I was that young. 

I also don't know who gave this doll to me, but my Mama wrote in my "Baby Book" that this was my favorite toy. Also listed in that book are my 2 favorite songs...."Mule Train" (by Frankie Laine) and "Rag Mop".

In 1950 "Rag Mop" was a hit song by The Ames Brothers. Even though my childhood memories are not very clear, it seems like I can remember singing the chorus of this song a LOT! I also remember my Mama singing it to & with me. I wanted to find a good video of The Ames Brothers singing "Rag Mop", but it seems there isn't one. This video contains photos of The Ames Brothers and this is their version of "Rag Mop", which I prefer over others.

After all these years, if I even think about this song it becomes an earworm for a while, but I don't mind at all.

Rag Mop's face is painted on oilcloth and is quite faded and worn. Her eyes are blue and her hair is "blonde". The back of her hat IS the back of her head and the hat's frill is sewn on. 

The rest of Rag Mop's body is plain old cotton. She is a "thin" doll, sort of flat, only about 1 3/4 inches at her thickest parts.Her feet/shoes are also "built into" her legs. Her little ancient "onesie" of sorts.....does come off, so over the years it has been washed, but it's still dingy. The rest of Rag Mop, except for her face, is quite dingy & dirty and I'd be afraid to try cleaning her now.

Rag Mop makes me feel the comfort and love and security of my childhood......before I was aware of "the world" outside my parent's home.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Orleans Books and Movies

There couldn't be a collection of New Orleans themed books without a copy of  John Kennedy Toole's Confederacy of Dunces, and our collection is not the exception....well unless having 5 copies of Confederacy makes it THE exception! Yes, FIVE copies. You just never know when you will need to give a copy of Confederacy to someone who has not read it.

New Orleans is a place that is dearly loved by both myself and my husband. Given a choice of where we could live, along with the funds to do just that, we would definitely live in New Orleans. Since that is not a choice, at least at the present, we have had to satisfy ourselves with visits and when unable to visit, with books and movies about that fair city. These books and movies could be fiction or non-fiction and over the years we have amassed a pretty fair collection.

Since I am the "nut" in this household, I have the books filed by author name for the most part. (More on that in a bit.) Our library is in our hallway, beginning with this tall bookcase above. Authors in this bookcase begin with Ralph Adamo and run through Steven Womack. 

A little more than half of the top shelf of this bookcase contains a variety of New Orleans themed books, some containing short stories, biographies, and a variety of other books. The remainder of the top shelf, the second shelf and about a quarter of the bottom shelf contain movies, either on VHS or DVD.  About half of the bottom shelf contains several New Orleans travel books we particularly liked and several New Orleans cookbooks. The stack on the right side of that bottom shelf consists of a variety of magazines and books that were just too tall to fit any other way. The only non-New Orleans book on these two bookcases is the bottom one in this stack, my R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book.

The last bookcase is where I, as the aforementioned "nut" in the household, decided to group books where I had many by the same author. On the top shelf is Charlaine Harris books....yep, the Sookie well as others written by Ms. Harris. I know that her books are not "New Orleans" books (even though Sookie does go to NOLA), but I love reading her books and,'s my filing system! To the right on both the top shelf and the second shelf are books by Poppy Z. Brite, who is a New Orleans author, and who I also met one year while at the Napoleon House in the French Quarter. To the left on the second shelf are books by New Orleans author Julie Smith, who I also had the privilege of meeting while in New Orleans. You can get a closer view of Julie's books in a previous post HERE. The bottom shelf is filled with books by Anne Rice (her older works, all the good vampire stuff, etc.)...and she is also a New Orleans author. 

New Orleans author, Marika Christian, has written Phone Kitten, which is an e-book. Her book was the first (and so far the only) e-book I have read. Since I cannot put an e-book on a bookcase, that book will have to remain on my computer. You can read about it or purchase it at booksBnimble or at Amazon.

So, we definitely have a collection here....way more than 3! If you are wondering...we have read the biggest majority of the books (with the exceptions of cookbooks & travel guide which are just for reference) and we have watched the movies and documentaries, too. Also, if you are wondering....this is not all of our books.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

BLUE DOGS an Instant Collection!

We went to a few yard sales today and most were not very good. There was one where we came out with armfuls of good "stuff", the Annual Attic Sale at  St. James Episcopal Church. This is a well organized sale that we like to attend every year and we usually find something. This year the selection was great, even 2 hours after they opened!

The very first thing I found was 3 framed Rodrigue BLUE DOGs. Granted, they are huge calendar pages, but they are a piece of New Orleans, a place we love. There was a balled up piece of masking tape attached to one of the 3 pictures. It appeared to have a $1.00 price on it, so I asked a sale helper if that was the price for one picture. To my surprise she said it was the price for all 3 pictures and made a new price sticker. Three BLUE DOGs  for the grand total of $1.00??? I couldn't pass that up and it was an instant collection to boot!

There were other great things we got...some books, colorforms, videos, vintage terrycloth hi-ball glass coasters, vintage terrycloth Santa Claus glass & bottle coasters, a MASH trivia game, a vintage 45rpm op art record case, and a hack saw to replace the one I cannot find....which, I'm sure, will now turn up! But an instant BLUE DOG collection was THE find for me.

Friday, May 20, 2011 isn't a collection, but it is a Popiel No. 9 !

Although I don't generally collect kitchen tools, I found this at a church yard sale today and just could not resist! After all, it's a POPIEL...."But wait, there's more" as Ron Popiel used to say about his Ronco products.....not only is it a Popiel Product, but it is marked No. 9. What does that mean? Uhh....I do not know. I really had no idea when I picked up this gadget, just what exactly it was called or what it was designed to be used for. I just knew I wanted it. 

Unfortunately, my husband found a use for Popiel No. 9 as soon as he took it from my hands....he used it to tickle my sides right there in the church gym! 

Knowing that there had to be some unique purpose for Popiel No. 9, I came home and did a little "Googling". Soon I found that this handy-dandy aluminum gadget was straight from the 1950's, designed by Ron's father, Samuel Popiel, and was intended to be used as corn tongs....or tongs for picking up whatever hot thingy you are cooking. They do seem as though they would work very well.   

In my "Googling" I found that Dan Bentley is a artist who made a sculpture called Poppi and incorporated these tongs into his sculpture.

I don't think I will be starting a kitchen tool collection, and I doubt I'll be adding to my Popiel collection either. I don't have room to store many Chop-O-Matic or Veg-O-Matic's and have no desire for a Pocket Fisherman.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Books by Julie Smith

Recently there was a contest at E-guerrilla (author Julie Smith's blog) to name the best-selling mystery author who did the artwork for Phone Kitten, an e-book written by Marika Christian (available at booksBnimble and also at Phone Kitten was a fun book to read. I had paid attention to the credits in Phone Kitten and knew this answer....Nevada Barr did that artwork. I entered the contest and I won.


My prize for winning this contest was my choice of one of Julie Smith's books, inscribed to me by Julie. I chose to ask "Aunt Julie" (not related, just how I think of her because of reading author Greg Herren's blog) if she had a copy of Louisiana Hotshot. She did, and she inscribed it to me and sent it on its way. I received it yesterday and now it is neatly filed with the other Julie Smith books in my collection.


I already had an uncorrected proof copy of Louisiana Hotshot (trade paperback) which Julie kindly inscribed to me at the Garden District bookstore one year during our visit to New Orleans. I will be keeping that copy, but am pleased to have the hardcover version to go into my collection of her books. The uncorrected proof copy was one I found on eBay. Julie asked where I got the copy and inscribed it appropriately, as seen in the photo below.

Most of my collection of Julie Smith books are in hardcover. There are 5 paperback books in this collection. They are: Death Turns A Trick, True-Life Adventure, Tourist Trap, Dead In The Water, and Other People's Skeletons. I keep looking at book sales and hoping that one day I will be able to find these books in hardcover, at a price I can afford.

My collection of Julie Smith books is just a small portion of a much larger collection of books written by New Orleans authors and/or about New Orleans. In a future post, I will show you the "bigger picture" of the New Orleans book collection.