Thursday, August 04, 2016

Therapeutic Piling

This afternoon I found myself struggling with what I prefer to describe as a "mental health episode," and as I found things getting worse in spite of the efforts I was making, I turned to my "cope list" of things I can do to break the patterns and give me the resources to make things better.

Both "construction toy" and "blog" are on that list, so as much as I was tempted to shuffle around them, I realized it would be better to just grab the rabbit (Or hare?).

Of course Ankerstein are the block of choice for serious therapeutic benefit. Smell, touch, substance, visual impact.

The Heinzelmännchen set is what the first box turned out to be, and a little shuffling through the printouts tucked inside turned up this little memorial, such as might be found at a crossroads in much of Europe.

I've been re-reading The Discovery of France, which might be why a roadside cross seemed a good choice. It's a wonderful book if you enjoy geography, history, linguistics, or why rocks might have been piled where they were.

So I piled up Anchor stones as seemed appropriate, enjoying the rhythms and textures, took a couple of pictures, and here we are. Therapeutic benefits acknowledged. Blog written.

Good Block Play.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


In my longstanding enthusiasm for Lott's construction sets, there have been several that have eluded me - not the least being the Lott's Wonderbrix series, which was apparently designed for use with the then-new OO and HO train sets. Traditional Lott's sets were more suitable for O trains.

Finally, several weeks ago, I managed to acquire one through an online site, and eagerly awaited its arrival. Only to have it arrive with almost every stone having new chips and one critical stone broken in half.

Eventually I repaired the broken stone, resigned myself to the chips, and today I finally built with it.
Wonderbrix sets, at first glance, seem to have their stones in the size series familiar from the regular Lott's sets, and closely akin to the Ankerstein sets, but in fact they are off a bit: ~3/8" x ~1 1/8" x ~1 7/8".

But they are still well-suited to building, and have a very satisfactory feel. I am glad to have them.

Good Block Play.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Now that I am officially "Opa Alan," it seemed like the time was right to get these Uncle Goose German Alphabet Wooden Blocks, which I have long coveted. They are one of many languages offered, including Swedish, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, Braille, and many other fun alphabet block products.

Melvin helped me make this as a Valentine for Blake, who is almost five months old.

The design is based on Froebel Gift #3 from a long ago Blockplay post. It is design #19 on the design pages reproduced there [click page thumbnails for larger version]. The eight cubical blocks of Froebel Gift #3 are extended here by one block to allow a longer name.

Melvin is a good block builder. He keeps track of when we should have snack breaks, he tells me all about everything on each block, and he brings me the blocks I need. Of course, he also brings me blocks I don't need, and I have to keep an eye out so he doesn't take the blocks I need away again, but he's still good help.

And I don't think Melvin will begrudge it a bit when Blake is old enough to take over his assistance role.

In fact, Melvin is looking forward to it.

As am I.

Good Block Play.