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.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Unbearable Cuteness of Being(s)

There was a very little boy in the store with his grandmother yesterday. Maybe two years old? He loved to talk and to identify things and he had one of those adorable little kid voices — excited and sweet. They had made it almost all the way around the store when he spotted the Snow White musical snowglobe sitting on the front desk. He got very excited, pointed at the base and said in his little voice "hi ho! hi ho!" I asked his grandmother if he had seen Snow White. "I don't think so," she told me. But I wondered . . . how else would he associate "hi ho" with a dwarf? Later, he spotted our much larger yard gnome with accordian, and instantly started with the excited "hi ho!"s again. Further questioning solved the mystery. He had seen a video. Someday, probably soon, he'll discover the words dwarf and gnome. But I kind of like "hi-ho"s myself . . .

Sunday, April 25, 2010

But What If The Bride Is A Guy?

As time goes by, I know it will be easier and easier to find same sex wedding figurines and decorations, but pickings are still a little slim. Danny Spirer jewelers is one of our oldest neighbors and they often buy little items from Joie to help display their beautiful wares. Wedding rings are one of their specialties and they recently purchased three bride and groom salt and pepper shakers. These ceramic shakers have a magnet on each mouth, and are irresistibly attracted towards each other. Perfect material for a D.I.Y. same sex marriage display!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day . . .

Today is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. The photo above was taken at an event the first year, when the day was free of commercialism and teach ins were held "to challenge corporate and government leaders." I just read an article in the New York Times pointing out how the day has now become a marketing platform for everything from "office products to Greek yogurt to eco-dentistry." The bottom picture is a display at F.A.O. Schwarz - a soy fiber penguin to teach children about recycling. Things have changed. Everything is a marketing opportunity these days, and "Green" is now inextricably linked to a different kind of green - the almighty dollar. And yet . . . any small improvement made, even in the name of money, can't be bad . . . can it?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Humble and Long Lasting

I was looking for a postcard for a customer today - she wanted something - anything - related to a warthog and I thought I remembered a postcard with a warthog. (Sadly, it turned out to be a wild boar.) I had brought the box of Art Unlimited postcards up to the desk to search through them, and when I grabbed the box to put it back, it ripped along the seams and all the postcards spilled out. !X?#*!@X# . . . I was mad - and then I had a moment of clarity. That cardboard box was probably 20 years old. A lot of stuff in the backroom of Joie is stored in cardboard boxes that have been around almost as long as the store. I kind of take them for granted - the Palm Press box, the Fotofolio box, the boxes that hold the wind up toys . . . these boxes have served Joie de Vivre loyally for years. Just plain old cardboard boxes. So, did I throw out the old box and replace it with a new one? No. I got some packing tape and repaired the broken seams. The Art Unlimited postcard box will live on for at least a few more years I hope.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Gift From A Customer

A customer was in yesterday and bought a tiny chick from our Wee Forest Folk display. He was also interested in our miniature automata, and he and Nancy were chatting about tiny things in general. Then he said he was going to make something for her. He pulled out a small piece of paper and from it cut an even smaller square. Then he closed his eyes and began to fold, while telling a story. A the end of his tale, he placed his gift in Nancy's hand. (We have included a tiny devil duck for scale.) And to our generous and talented customer - thank you!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 4

While listening to NPR on my drive home from Joie de Vivre tonight, I heard an interesting story on Marketplace. People who handle money - paper money - tend to be more optimistic and cheerful, Handling dollar bills actually helps ease both physical and mental pain. Researcher Kathleen Vohs of Carlson School of Management was the interviewee - and the woman who headed the study, first published in 2009. There was the usual "feeling better about yourself" data - and also a dramatic example where people put their fingers in hot, scalding water. Those who had touched money before the hot water didn't feel as much pain as the people who hadn't. Fascinating - though I think I'll skip the scalding water test. And . . perhaps this phenomena explains why I am usually cheerful. Giving out change everyday at Joie de Vivre. I admit, other factors may be at play . . but please - think before using that credit card or check - I want to stay happy!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Innocence of Youth?

We have a customer who recently bought herself a couple of robot necklaces to cheer herself up after the recent flooding rains in Boston. She is a musician and gives piano lessons in her home. The other day, she told me she loves the necklaces, but can't wear them while she is teaching young students because the students like them so much they become distracted. A seven year old girl asked her where she got them, then asked if she would buy her one. "No, I'm afraid not," was the reply. "Can I have yours?" responded the girl. There's something compelling about such forthrightness of desire! Sadly for the student, the answer was once again no.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Another in a Very Occasional Series of . . .

funny t shirts. At the moment, we are not selling this shirt - I just saw it on my favorite site for looking at silly pictures of cats.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Where Have We Been?

Would you believe - out smelling the flowers? When I first started this blog almost a year ago (exciting blog's one year birthday blog coming up the end of this month) I vowed to post at least twice a week - and I have. And I realized with horror this morning that it has been almost an entire week since the last post. But I do have an excuse - weather! Not bad awful weather - mindblowingly glorious weather - for five entire days. All I can think of is being outside where there are flowers and sun and the sounds of all the birds out there singing their hearts out. And I think the customers feel the same . . . it's been kind of quiet inside here. Who needs to buy gifts when the weather itself is a gift? It's too early for this to last, and it's supposed to get colder tomorrow. So, regular posting will resume . . . in the meantime, there's a frozen yogurt store just a few blocks away . . .

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Let There Be . . . Silly Sounds!

Are three sound machines too much for one store? There were times yesterday when I would have said an unqualified "Yes!" And that "yes" would have been around the time there were maybe a dozen kids in the store, and each one would get hold of a sound machine. And each sound machine has 16 buttons. And the sounds are so fun, that hearing them only once is definitely not enough. But, we have a new sound machine and we love it. It makes cartoon sounds - everything from falling into water, to bang on head, to saw to splat, and my personal favorite, jibber-jabber a.k.a. "cartoon phone caller." It's a most worthy addition to the sound machine pantheon! And it only costs $500. APRIL FOOL ! It's $18, just like the others!