Dear Blog Readers,
We have become the kind of blogger we never wanted to be — the kind who has a "read our blog" button on our website but the newest post is months old. We blame Facebook for this — it's so much easier to write something there and we seem to have more followers there than we did here on the blog. Still, we can't quite bring ourselves to give it up altogether yet — so instead, we're posting this little note to explain our lack of current entries. Please do check out our facebook page, we think it's fun, if not quite as long form.
sincerely, the Joie de Blogger.

Monday, July 27, 2009

R.I.P. Acrocat

Bad news from PlayVisions today. I opened an invoice to find that they had only shipped us a dozen acrocats - not the 24 we had ordered. And below the item number was the dreaded sentence: "the above backordered item is no longer available." Oh NO! This is a wonderful fun item. I called to ask why. The answer: "It didn't really sell that well for us." Of course, they're a large company and need to sell a LOT of anything - but it sure sold well for us. Sadly, this often happens. We love an item, its very popular at Joie, but seemingly - no where else. Maybe because we keep one at the desk and let people play with it. Anyway, to see it before it disappears from our lives and website forever, visit us, or click on acrocat and say goodbye!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Accoutrements catalogue

My sister's husband works at a sporting goods store and for some reason they received a catalogue from Accoutrements - one of our star purveyors of fun - in the mail. She rightly thought I would like it and brought it down to show me, in case I didn't know about it. It was left sitting on the porch and discovered by her daughter and the other two kids in the house - and they were very impressed by the contents. Reading through the pages has become a daily post beach activity and it's funny to listen to them shriek with horror at the bacon jelly beans and hear them try to puzzle out why anyone would want some of these things! Of course some of the things (say, apple flavored gummy maggots) make me react pretty much the same way! But then: the timesless chicken chuckers, finger monsters, devil ducks and singing pickles - Joie de Vivre could never be its silly self without them. A funny intrusion of work into vacation! And for the record. . I asked each kid what their favorite item in the catalogue was. They did not go for the disturbing or gross. One picked the cupcake mints. One picked the toothpick bird. The last one could not decide !

Sunday, July 19, 2009

On Vacation !

Joie de Blog is currently on vacation at the exotic New Jersey Shore. The Joie owner has vacationed here for a week or two in September or the summer for the better part of twenty five years. As recently as fifteen years ago few of the rental houses even had telephones. I would go down to the local supermarket and stand on line to use a pay phone to call the store and make sure everything was okay. Now I'm emailing them everyday, have a cellphone, and posting to the blog. Hard now not to be in touch. Kind of a big change. All I can say is: it was kind of great not to have all this modern technology. And yet: it's kind of great to have it too.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

from the archives . . .

Here is another drawing from the files of the talented Crispin Wood. (see May 23) He's imagining some items we could use at the store. No, we did NOT endorse the use of cocaine -but it was kind of popular with certain folks at the time. Yes, the computer looks pretty ancient, and sadly, Katherine Hepburn probably doesn't have as high a recognition factor now as she deserves (yikes - spell check doesn't know her last name .. not to mention the political incorrectness of making fun of her wobbly head!) Still .. some of these would work just fine today, and years later, we actually sell an Etch-a-Sketch key chain, just a little bigger than the micro pictured here. I think a dancing sound responsive scream doll would do quite well today. Click on drawing to make it grow. . . and thanks, Crispin!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pickle versus Kaleidoscope

A kid and her Mom are browsing the store. They're pretty independent of each other, but when the kid sees something she likes she brings it over to show her Mom. It's clear she's been told she can probably have "one thing". Her item of choice seems to be the yodeling pickle which she brings over while it yodels. Mom doesn't seem too enthusiastic and on hearing the price - $16 - says its probably not going to happen. A bit later, the daughter picks up the ribbon kaleidoscope called "Slow Yo-Yo," made by the talented Tom and Carol Paretti. Its a wonderful object - one throws down three feet of ribbon which become the scope's object case. You look through as you slowly wind the ribbon back up. Our girl was enchanted. She wandered over to find her mother. "Mom, I don't think I want the pickle. I found something I really like a lot more." Just as her Mom is beginning to ask how much it costs, I interrupt. "I'm afraid I have bad news; it's worse than the pickle." I say it this way because I don't want to say the actual price - over $300. A moment of silence as the sad news is digested. "I guess it must cost $50, it's so awesome" says the daughter. She said it without resentment. She understood that it was clearly in a different league than the pickle. She brought her Mom to see it, unrolled it and rolled it up while Mom looked through and agreed it was indeed a wondrous thing. They stayed awhile longer while Mom picked out a card and small present. Then her daughter chose a pickle-pult - a toy that catapults miniature pickles - $6 - and they left.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A small point of interest

We made up buttons to give away for out 25th anniversary, and made them in six colors - I think we ordered 1000 in total. There's a bowl of them sitting on the desk. Each time I refill it, I've noticed that there are three colors left in the bowl: yellow, pink and orange. The six colors look good together, so when I refill, I add in more of the blue, purple and green. A day or two later: we need more. Left in the bowl: yellow, pink and orange. So come on in and take some buttons. And really - you can have any colors you like. We will make more. In blue, green and purple!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Birthday America

Another birthday - more important than ours! For years I've been battling our local newspaper, the Boston Globe over their holiday listings column. That's where they list what is open and what is closed on various holidays. Twenty five years ago, it was simple. Stores were closed on major holidays. . . Memorial Day, Labor Day, the 4th of July, and more. Now, they're open, at least all the "majors." (Oddly, they still close on Easter.) The column lists what is closed (Mail, Government Offices, Banks) -- and what is opened (Retail). I know that most small businesses are closed on these holidays, and I don't like seeing "open" printed in the paper, so I waged a campaign to have them print "open at owner's discretion." That way, would be shoppers might think to call and check before showing up to shop. It took at least two years of back and forth with the editors, complaining and explaining every single holiday, and then - suddenly, they seemed to get it. I relaxed. Just this Memorial Day I glanced at the column; all was well. But today, the column simply said stores were "open." Wrong! Not most small businesses, and not us. I hate to disappoint anyone who wants to come to Joie, and I'm not sure if I'm being old fashioned, just selfish (I want a day off too) or crazy to pass up a chance to make a few extra dollars . . . but I don't want to sit in the store on the 4th of July. I want to go for a walk, think about our country, make a barbecue, watch a parade, hang out with friends. We'll be back on the 5th!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

birthday window

Wanted to post our window before we take it down. We had to order tons of cardboard to get the small amount we needed to make this 2 and 5. It was very interesting trying to track down large cardboard - I probably made 25 phone calls. It wound up coming from Pennsylvania as the sole local supplier I found wanted us to buy a whole pallet (250 pieces) of it. There is also unseen flexible cardboard also from Pennsylvania in it. We had to buy roughly ten times as much of both types as we needed or they wouldn't ship it .. so look for our "free cardboard" on Craig's list soon! Thanks and shout out to Peter for putting it all together . . . including that last late night paper and glitterfest in the basement. The white mice are our favorite Folkmanis puppets. They have appeared in so many of our favorite window displays that we had to use them in this!