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Monday, November 24, 2008

Holiday Gift Ideas

My products

Here are four wooden items that I had personally designed in Thailand as intergenerational games.

Stir-it-up Marimba and Slapping Slats
These rhythm instruments are based on American models. The Stir-it-up Marimba is a cylindrical drum that is held in the palm of one hand and stirred with the other hand using the drumstick, as if one were stirring a cake mix in a bowl. Obviously each slat on the cylinder can be individually struck to make its own note, but when stirred, produces a sound something like an old-fashioned coffee pot percolating. It is made of monkey wood, chosen for its resonating properties, and all of the edges have been rounded so that it is comforting to hold.

The slapping slats are much simpler: one end is held in each hand and the rhythmic sound is created by rocking your hands up and down.

Cube puzzle and square puzzle
Both of these are common toys in Thailand, but I had them specially adapted because I knew that wood is intrinsically pleasant to hold and manipulate, as long as there are no sharp edges. Therefore, all the pieces have rounded edges so that they fit comfortably in the hands. Both puzzles also come with instructions for solving, and as real puzzles, are a challenge for any age. However, my goal was to provide both a challenge for the person who wants a real brain exercise and to provide pleasing wooden pieces to hold or re-arrange into patterns or sculptures for children or adults who might be frustrated in trying to master the solution.

The cube puzzle is about 4 inches on each side with a base and a top that fits neatly over the puzzle when it is put together correctly.

The square puzzle has its own wooden case, and on the inside bottom of the case one solution to the puzzle is painted so that if one is in a hurry to solve it or clean-up, it’s easy to do so. However, we provide a simple sheet of white paper to place over the painted solution so that it becomes a real challenge again, and so that the individual pieces can be more easily seen in the dark box.

Supplies are limited. Prices do not include shipping.
  • Stir-it-up Marimba, $20
  • Slapping slats, $10
  • Cube puzzle, $12
  • Square puzzle, $28.

To order any of these items, click here.