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.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

This is War!

Someone came into the store yesterday talking on her cellphone. She wasn't speaking too loudly, but I could hear every word she said, and she was the only customer in the store. After about ten minutes, her conversation was driving me crazy, and I was also annoyed that she hadn't made eye contact or acknowledged my presence in any way. I've never done anything like this before, but I decided to try to bother her. I turned the music up . . . . then up again. It didn't seem to faze her at all. I made it very loud. Again, no response, she didn't even blink. I felt bad doing it, but I turned it up even louder. I don't think she had the faintest idea that this was war - but, there was one happy side effect - at least I couldn't hear her, and once I couldn't hear her, I could concentrate on other things. Postscript: she eventually put down the phone, and I turned down the music, and we spoke a bit!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I was just in Baltimore at the American Craft Council Show. This is a show I've gone to for almost 35 years - first as a junior buyer, then as an exhibitor, (or more accurately, woodworker's girlfriend) and for the last twenty six as a buyer again. The quality of the work at this show is very high - so high that I only place a half dozen orders or so - most of the work is way too expensive for Joie de Vivre. Some of the work is perfect for Joie in spirit - like the work of Chris Roberts -Antieau. If I won the lottery - and I would of course, have to start buying tickets for this to be even a remote possibility - I would not close my store - but I would buy some of that wonderful in spirit but expensive work, just so people could come and see it. (don't worry, of course we would keep the wind-up toys and postcards and singing pickles too!) And maybe even buy it once in awhile. Take a look at her pieces - they are very special and amazing. And the show is full of equally wonderful work in all media . . . . a very tiny portion of which you will see on our shelves later this year!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Joie through a Jellyfish

Or should that be Joie as seen by a jellyfish? We're selling these jellyfish- kind of a combination of an aquarium and a light (sorry, not on our website yet, but posting this is making me realize they need to be) and a staff member shot these photographs of the store on her cell phone - from behind the jellyfish. It makes a little noise - there's a motor that makes the jellyfish swim by pumping spurts of water - but once you get used to that - they're wonderful!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Toys and Magic

I just got back from the Toy Fair, and I can't even begin to describe all the fun things I saw. You will see some of them arrive at Joie de Vivre in the next month or two. But, the most amazing things I saw were not toys, but tricks. I was fortunate (friends in high places) to be invited to a gathering of inventors and magicians on Sunday night, where I watched a man pour wine into his hand and make it disappear, untold amazing card tricks, and even a man solve a miniature Rubic's cube - in his mouth with his tongue!! The thing I love about magic, is even if you know it's a trick, it still totally convinces you. In that sleight of hand lies the magic. Before a good magician we are all as susceptible as the youngest child and in my book, that's really fun!! (Rabbit in Hat by another Toy Fair favorite - Folkmanis Puppets)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Buyers Market of American Craft

In Philadelphia. it was a little eerie . . the show has shrunk to maybe three quarters of its size in the last few years. And you hear a lot more people throwing around quips like "surviving is the new success" or "okay is the new good" and things of that sort - they're funny and they still make people laugh . . . but it's a little sobering. On the other hand, there was a lot of good work, wonderful handcrafted things that were fun to find and will be great to have in the store. And the buyers that were there seemed to be there to actually buy. There seems to be a general feeling that this may be the year things start to get better for everyone. Let's hope it's true! And in the meantime, we are going to have a lot of nice new work coming in this spring!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fun Things We Get To Say

(an ongoing series) Today I called a man at his office and got his secretary. What did I get to say? "Can you please tell Mr. X that the Zombies are here and ready for pick up, but the Pope has been discontinued. So, please tell him we can't get the Pope but the Zombies are waiting " She went from serious to laughing in about 5 seconds flat.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Is This Glass?

While I was at the Gift Show I had dinner with a friend who works in glass. She was at the show buying for the store where she and her husband feature their own glass, along with selected merchandise of other sorts. She told me that a customer had picked up a leather bag and asked if it was made of glass! It reminded me of one of the funnier questions we get here at the store: "Do you make all this yourself?" Now we sell a lot of different things - toys, books, jewelry, music boxes, kaleidoscopes, and these many different things are made out of a lot of different things - wood, plastic, metal, paper, glass, porcelain, fabric to name a few. I'm so tempted to say, "Why yes, in fact, we make it all right behind that door in our little workshop!" But I don't say that. I say, "No, we just find it and sell it - that keeps us so busy we wouldn't have time!" I think they're really commenting that they find our items unusual. They haven't seen these items before so it seems reasonable that we might make them all here at the store. If only we were that talented!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

Back from the New York Gift Show and trying to sort through all the paperwork . . . all those orders, all the things to be filed in the possible orders file. It was a good show - I found way too many things! Some trends noted: Matroushkas have become amazingly popular - and everyone is making cute flash drives. Octopuses are on the rise, with owls and birds in general still holding their own. Squirrel and bacon related items appear to be on the decline. Our own local hero, Rufus Seder has two great new products about to come out - an animated Star Wars book (he is the author of the best selling Gallop) and an amazing new toy called a Strobotop. After three days of walking, talking, looking, buying, going out to dinner, more talking and walking, I always leave the just a little bit tired. But I'm inspired and excited at the same time - my Joie batteries are recharged!