Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Scots Rock!/The Awesomest Toy Award

This past weekend we went to the San Diego Highland Games and Scottish Festival held in Vista CA. I, of course had great plans to shoots lots and lots of great photos of kilts and drummers and all things highland. Unfortunately my kids had different ideas--so instead of fighting them, I just put the camera away for the day and enjoyed our time (not before I snapped a quick shot of this awesome shirt.) I don't know, it must be all my celtic blood, but guys in kilts are always so handsome..

The games had it all. We made it to the dancing competition, sheepdog trials, and the gathering of the clans/parade. We also caught a bit of the games themselves. For those of you not familiar with the Highland games, think of the strongman competitions you see on ESPN only crazier. They consist of events like the Hammer Throw, Caber Toss, Sheaf Toss... you get the picture. Very big muscular guys (all in kilts) throwing and tossing really heavy stuff really far. It's pretty entertaining! They even had a 'mini' kids games. Syd participated and got herself a blue ribbon! Okay okay, every kid got a blue ribbon, but she doesn't know that...

We were also able to catch the tail end of the Wicked Tinkers concert. These guys are crazy. It's like what punk rockers in Scotland would have listened to 300 years ago. It's pretty awesome and very entertaining. They play the coolest intruments I have ever seen and the energy these guys have on stage is ridiculous, they are like the Rolling Stones of the Highland Festivals. They tour and tour the whole country and I have NEVER been to one of their shows where there wasn't a bunch of Tinker Groupies dancing it up on the side. Check out there website or even check this link for a snippet of a concert on YouTube. What can I say, we like our music loud.

I must say that the find of the day was not the games, but what we found in the kids section...

Awesomest Toy EVER Award

Did you ever play with blocks as a kid? Well, these are the mother of all blocks. These are fantastic. The toymaker carves each one by hand and creates turrets and peaks and windows and ledges--all for you to create your own castle and kingdom.

At the festival, the toymaker (whose name is Peter Dziulak) had set up little individual tables under a large shady tree with sets of these blocks. Sydney and Vivie played for almost an hour building and rebuilding to their hearts content. I watched boys and girls and whole families (and even some teenagers) come over and build with these.

I have to say I think these are one of the most creative toys I have ever seen. Such a simple idea, but so fascinating! I'm sure your thinking, "they're just fancy blocks" but they're not. Think of what you would build as a child with your blocks. I know I always built castles and forts and kingdoms. With these, you have endless variations of that theme. These are like the blocks you always wished and imagined your blocks would have been.

Plus, for all you moms of little girls--these are terrific. I know my husband is always looking for ways to play with Sydney. She's a girlie girl and she only ever wants to play princess-- an activity he get's (shall we say) a little weary of. With these blocks, they can build together and create Cinderella's castle or Rapunzel's Tower or whatever strikes her fancy. They bridge that gap between "boy" toys and "girl" toys. Since they've made their debut at our house, we haven't stopped playing with them.

I seriously think these are one of the coolest things I have seen in a long time for kids. No, I'm not selling them and I'm in no way affliliated with the toymaker. I just think when you come across something that's unique and innovative and particularly done with love and care, you should celebrate it.

Congratulations Mr. Village Blocksmith, you are currently the reigning king of toys!!

For any of you interested in them, you can find them on the web at www.villageblocksmith.com


Abi said...

Holy moly! Saying that those are just blocks is like saying that all Lego's are just Lego's. Not so! Where would we be without the wheels? The doors? The windows and the big flat pieces you put them all together on? We'd still be making two dimensional digital stick figures! Those are freaking awesome!

Debbie said...

did you buy them? I went to his website and they are so cool.

Sara Walker said...

These are awesome! I loved playing with blocks. Sara

joanna said...

So, as much as I love this t-shirt, I need a new Vanessa fix! A new blog entry, please.

Amylouwho said...

I went and watched the Wicked Tinkers! AWESOME!! I claim my Scottish heritage over all the other british isle blood in my system. Scots rock!!!! I haven't been to any Scotish festival yet. It's on my "list".

So have you ever watched the BBC series Monarch of the Glen? It's based in the Highlands and you get to hear Bagpipes every episode!! We get it on netflix - granted it's a little cheesy with bad acting at first but it grows on you! Nick and I are perfecting our accents.

I'm sad I was so out of it when you first moved to Oside and then I had to leave. We should have spent more time together. Rather - we shouldn't have both had terrible pregnancy illnesses!!!