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.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Toy Heaven

Back when I ran a craft gallery, I used to enjoy visiting artists in their studios. It was always fun to see where they made their work and look at their environment . . . not to mention getting out of the gallery and out on the road. I haven't done it much lately -a lot of companies I buy from don't actually "make" their merchandise on the premises - but I visited one today, Schylling Toys in Rowley, Mass. They don't make toys up in Rowley, but they stock and ship from there, and Joie has sold many of their products over the last twenty years. I was doing an interview with Dave Schylling about the late, and much lamented, TikiTime Drummer. (for - in my dreams - my first New Yorker article.) I thought it would take half an hour or so, but I was there for two hours, getting the grand tour of their beautiful building, talking, and most exciting - seeing their four star amazing collection of antique toys. So many wonderful museum worthy tin toys, furry wind-up toys, with LOTS and LOTS of things I had never seen before. Just give me some wine and a sandwich and lock me in for the night - I would have a ball.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What's This?

This blog written by guest blogger and long time Joie-ette: Julia Willwerth.

Glum, sourpuss faced lady enters store. Walks up to counter. "I am looking for a joke." Me: "Oh, you came to the right store. . . let's see . . " Lady, flatly: "What's this?" Me: "a bouncy glitter ball . . . hmm . . we have this yodelling pickle? or an emergency clown nose - that's good if you need a quick funny fix." Lady, flatly: "What's this?" (it's an itop) I explain the top. She proceeds down the front desk - pointing at random things and asking "what's this?" (ignoring all my excellent Joie gift suggestions) She presses every button on the sound machine. Zero change in expression. "What's this?" "Ear clips." "What's this?" "It's a keychain with sparkles in it." "What's this?" "An Etch-a-Sketch." "Show me that red bird." I demonstrate and explain breezy singer - her comment, "That's not very exciting." By now I have ceased to care if she finds something she likes. (She does ultimately buy the sound machine.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Art Imitating - YouTube?

You might ask, "is it art?" We say: well . . . it does have a lovely gold frame. And it is a painting. Let history decide. The artist, I mean company, that we purchase this from says it's a dramatic chipmunk painting. We beg to differ - it's clearly a prairie dog. If you don't recognize it, please google "Dramatic Prairie Dog" and watch the YouTube video. If you do recognize it, we recommend googling "Dramatic Prairie Dog Star Wars" for an even better version. Oh - I guess I should say that this beautiful painting is $40 and now available here at Joie de Vivre.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Odd Question of the Day

A customer is cranking the Happy Birthday music box and listening to the tune - she asks, "Does this song have a name?" (n.b. she was not a foreigner!)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A New Favorite Thing

I saw this on a design blog recently. It's a light switch/clock. When the switch is in the up position, you see the time. The beautiful thing about it - you can turn the time off. A poetic concept made concrete by Ryan Harc in New York. If only I could order some - alas, so far, they are not a production item. If they are ever available, we'll have them here!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Why Do We Want To Be In Here?

A little girl, maybe three years old, with silver shoes and ballet outfit was in the store with her mother. As they started to look at things in the front of the store, the daughter seemed bored, and asked her mother, "Why do we want to be in here?" The mom explained that the store had a lot of interesting things and that it was fun to be here looking at them. They progressed toward a section of toys, and the girl picked up a slinky. She asked again, "why do we want to be in here?" but added a second, hopeful question: "are we here to buy some toys for me?" Her mother explained that it had just been her birthday, and she had gotten some new toys, so they were looking more for things for other people. In the meantime, the girl fell in love with a $50 jellyfish light, and started her questions again. They left without the jellyfish, but she did get a $2 pinwheel to match her sparkly silver shoes and seemed very pleased.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The best time to shop this weekend is:

Sunday afternoon !! The spectacular HONK parade - part of the HONKfest taking place in Davis Square this weekend, will pass right by our door between noon and one p.m. as the bands parade down Mass. Ave en route from Davis to Harvard Square. This is the 4th year of the festival, and the 3rd year of the parade - and we can say with assurance that you do NOT want to miss this event! Music, dance, crazy costumes, floats, kids, adults, puppets - and who knows what else? It gets bigger and better every year. Come hang out with us and watch - what could be more fun?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Magic Garden

We've been selling Magic Gardens for 25 years.

The photograph on the package is good, but it really doesn't capture the garden's full glory.

Here we have a set of pictures that capture not only the fully blooming garden but a special bonus: a captivated child.

He is Alexander, the son of my friends Danielle and Gayle.

I don't think there could be a better illustration of the Magic Garden's magic than this . . .

(click on picture to get up close and personal)