top photoIt was the best Saturday ever.  A few weeks ago I reconnected with Lara Moore – one of my favorite artists of all time.  Lara’s work is amazing and you’ve seen it in our stores for years. If you are familiar with Lara’s work you know exactly what I mean.  If you are not, here’s a hint.  MOD-PODGE.  Remember MOD-PODGE?? Think of it all grown up and fabulous.  I can’t really explain how she does it, but with some magical combination of wood, hand cut paper, shiny resin, and genius, Lara creates unique tables, mirrors, and wall art — The kinds of pieces you work a room around, love forever, and fight over in divorce.  The kinds of pieces we are happy and proud to be featuring at Sense of Wonder.

BELLA ROAD TRIP!  Last Saturday, Lara was in Massachusetts delivering what had to be the largest, most beautiful dining table I have ever seen.  It is a massive 72 inches around — I pictured wicked cool knights around it — an iconic Bella Bella piece on extraordinary steroids.  Apparently it would have cost a gabillion dollars to ship and insure so Lara grabbed a friend and a comically huge rental truck and hit the road.

On the way, Lara stopped by our store.  I had mentioned that we had lots of Bella Bella tables in stock but not enough wall pieces so Laura graciously invited me to trade some of my older pieces for updated new ones.  (Did i mention i love her?).  So in one whirlwind hour of hugging, wrapping, manic talking, lifting, moving, picture taking, and more hugging, we swapped some of our older Bella pieces for fabulously updated new ones.

We had a blast.  Lara and I share the same quirky, whacky, whirling dervish personality.  We decided that if she ever lived close by we would get in lots of fun trouble together!  My mission now is to get one of our customers to order some humongously large Bella Bella piece so she will return.

Speaking of custom Bella Bella pieces, we will soon have a new Bella Bella look/order book so customers can visualize hundreds of Bella Bella design combinations AND we will be offering Lara’s pieces ON OUR WEBSITE.

So…at the “risk” of having you charge into our store to take a look, here are some examples of Lara’s mah-vel-ous work.

store picscustom pic

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what’s new for fall

This is my favorite time of year….and here at Sense of Wonder, September and October bring with them lots of new items — a kind of preview for the holidays.

Here are a few of our favorite new items:


Aluminum Can Bracelets — yes, you read that correctly.   Made from recycled aluminum cans, these bracelets are fun, stylish, and green.  You will recognize some of the cans (MONSTER energy drink at the top and Arizona Iced Tea on the far right, for example).  These are made in USA and $32 each.


The “balancing wine fish” and the “oven squirrel” are two new items that mystify our customers.  The fish holds a full wine bottle horizontal — we don’t know how exactly but it does.  The squirrel is used to take hot racks in and out of the oven.  Who knew? $25 each. Made in the USA.


Yes, that vase is make from an actual Grey Goose bottle!  Not cut, but formed at the top (that glass must have been really hot) — a conversation piece for sure.  $69.  The coasters in the orange box are glass w decoupaged quotes and beautiful metal edging on each one.  Set of 4 coasters is $42.  Made in the USA too…are u sensing a pattern here?

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199Finally.  We have been trying for months — ok years — to figure out a way to get our store online without turning into “one of those stores online.”  It has to be cool and Sense of Wonder-ish.  That has not been easy to figure out and we have been driving our website creator friends insane with the amount of tinkering I have done on this baby.  Five redo-s because i wanted to see different shades of blue? At the end of the day, however, I decided to just go for it, go live, and get started.  Please be patient with us, there are no doubt gonna be a few kinks at the beginning.

It will be a convenience for our customers to be able to shop at  Sense of  Wonder in the middle of the night with simply the push of a button or two.  And maybe some new customers will find us online as well.  The updated site looks really good and who knows we might sell really good thru it.  In addition, we’ve added a wicked cool photo slide show so people can get a sense of Sense of Wonder. Worth a look.  click here to see our site.  Whaddaya think?

You will note we do not have a gazillion items listed.  I’m not sure we will ever get remotely close to a gazillion.  I guess we could  get closer if we put some of our larger lines on the site (Like Mariposa or Simon Pearce, for example).  Even though those lines are very very cool and sell well, I wanted our site to be geared a little  more toward the smaller artists we feature.  The site feels a little more personal that way. To be sure, you can order any piece of Simon Pearce, Mariposa, or any other item we have at Sense of Wonder by simply emailing or picking up the phone and calling us (978-475-5544 or 781-944-8986).  We will happily take phone or email orders.  Eazy Peezy.

I know, we are behind the times and everyone else is selling online already.  It’s been a challenge for me because i don’t delegate well (probably one of the reasons it took so long to get started) but eventually selling online won.  Like any change I will get used to the idea.   The truth of the matter is, we select merchandise that is unique, often one or two of a kind, and unlikely to be online.  So it’s not easy to just “put the store on the internet.”  Notwithstanding all of that, we selected great products to sell online.  We still offer you great customer service — and even some items that are different from those in our stores.  Finally — and this is a biggee — we continue to offer good value.  Prices online and in our stores are the same if not better than elsewhere. It strikes a nerve when people come in, see something they like, and then go try to find it online or elsewhere for less.  They can’t.  It is a myth that a small specialty store is more expensive.  At least it is a myth with our stores.

Enough explanation — the Sense of Wonder glass is half full and our website is wicked cool.  So, if you ever have an urge to go to Sense of Wonder at 3am, now you can! Of course, you could probably also go to one of our stores at 3am and see me there, but that’s the subject of a completely different post altogether) 🙂

ITS ALL GOOD.  I hope you like the new online store.  We sure do and we are pretty excited about it.

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Visit our Reading store any day this week, mention TEAM WILCOX, and we will donate a portion of your purchase to the Team Wilcox Fund.  Hop the Block is a fundraising event with Reading businesses to assist Jim Wilcox, a Reading resident paralyzed after a standard spinal surgical procedure last fall.  Team Wilcox was established to help with medical expenses, and other necessities like home modifications, wheelchair accessible van, etc.  that are needed to support Jim’s transition home.  For more information visit  Hope to see you!

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PicMonkey CollageSpring is coming….isn’t it?  It’s gonna melt….won’t it?  I can start gardening soon….can’t I?

I hope so.  Spring will come.  It must.  Watch for early signs in our stores.  The look changes.  We trot out brighter colors, outdoorsy stuff like windchimes and suncatchers, and collections of new jewelry that will make you want to pack away those warm sweaters and comfy boots.

We are dying to pack all our winter stuff away.  But before we do; we put it ON SALE.  So from now until I can’t stand it anymore (10 days or so) we are pricing all of our cold weather stuff to move on out.  40% or more off of Fleecy jackets, Margaret Winters Sweaters, furry scarves, mittens, and gloves of all types –  fingerless, leather, furry, and fleecy.   Then there’s the jewelry.  We are having a ZIPLOC sale.  If you see jewelry in a ziploc bag, that means it’s going …  the sale collection varies from Reading to Andover.   Shop early for the best selection.  Some of the jewelry deals are amazing.  Hope to see you.

KEEP US POSTED/SHARE YOUR IDEAS: We welcome your input.  Did you visit a cool store while on vacation and think “that item would be perfect for sense of wonder?”  TELL US.  Is there a local event we should become involved in?  TRY US.  Consider us your favorite wicked cool store?  COMPLIMENT US.  Think we can improve?  REMIND US. ~ We will  respond to every email.  Promise.

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WOOHOO Post Holiday SALE !

holiday saleWe survived the holidays! Santa found our house!  I didn’t burn the Christmas Eve tenderloin. Everyone loved my eggplant. (ok, i lied, my sister made it and she might see this). WHEW, the holiday roller coaster finally slows down.

Now it’s time to regroup and get organized (lose 10 lbs, gripe less, give more, yadada).  So…to make room in our stores for all the new stuff coming….we have discounted ALL of our remaining holiday related merchandise and it is now 40% OFF.   The sale will continue while supplies last …. or until I get sick of looking at holiday stuff. :-).  We are open Mon-Saturday in Andover and Tues-Saturday in Reading. Both stores are open until 7 on Thursdays. Hope to see you!

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Fingerless Texting Gloves — WHO KNEW?

imagesCA1AX10GFrom the folks at SOLMATE socks comes a new innovation: mismatched fingerless texting gloves! All cotton and in crazy colors like the socks, these gloves let you text, drive, wave, or just look cool. These gloves have been a hit with texters of every age.  One size fits all: $32 SOLMATE SOCKS: $19. Try them on; you’ll be hooked.


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Throughout December this blog will highlight various gift ideas.

corinthiansSOLID STERLING MOBIUS BRACELETS WITH INSPIRATIONAL SAYINGS $98: A Mobius strip is a loop with a half twist that results in the curious property of one-sidedness. A mobius strip bracelet is engraved on both the inside and the outside continuously.   Our mobius bracelets are solid sterling silver and made in the USA.  A number of inspirational engravings are available including 1 corinthians 13 (“love is patient….”) (pictured), Serenity Prayer, lines from Shakespeare, “Peace” in 26 languages, an Irish blessing, and others.  Makes a great gift for any age wearer.  Available in both our stores.


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One of my favorite days of the year comes tomorrow– Thursday November 29.  SHOP THE BLOCK  is Reading’s annual downtown holiday shopping extravaganza.  This year is the STB 10th anniversary and over 20 businesses are participating in festivities from 5 to 9pm.   Free transportation provided around the block (thank you Sanborn House!), entertainment, food, and specials at many of the participating retailers, salons, and restaurants.  Enter to win a fabulous Shop the Block Gift Basket valued at over $1000.  Raffle proceeds will benefit the Reading North Reading Chamber of Commerce Holiday Lighting Fund.  Look for my favorite acapella group TALK TO THE HAND at Sense of Wonder starting around 7:15.  Hope to see you there!

Hey! Did you hear the one about the gift store owner who locked herself out of her own store after hours, in the dark, with no ID, no phone, and no coat??  Thank goodness I’m so MELLOW….yup, it happened…this very night.


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Necklaces, Bracelets, and Rings. OH MY!  WE are having a jewelry trunk show next thursday, november 1 at our Andover store from 4 to 7 pm.  For that evening all ECHO OF THE DREAMER and MARS&VALENTINE jewelry will be 20% off.  We bring in a HUGE selection for our trunk shows.  I mean our back wrapping counter is literally covered in bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings.  I am not really a sparkle and bling kinda girl.  Except when it comes to this jewelry.  It is worth the trip to Andover to see this collection.  Even if you just want to look…no pressure.  and we will have great cookies…..

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