Hi, my name is Barbara, some of my friends call me Babs, I love toys, all kinds of toys. This column is going to be all about the kind an adult might enjoy……well…..now not that kind. But toys that relieve stress and might be called comfort toys as well. When things get stressful it can be helpful to have something to take the edge off. It seems that we all have things that cause stress, waiting in line for one thing or another, your turn to see the doctor, or a computer program to finish running. Or perhaps being a passenger on a long trip. Whether in a plane, train or automobile, having something to amuse you can help the time go by much faster.
For my birthday this past July a special friend sent me “Heaven’s Orb”. It is a maniuplative toy which combines two of my favorite things, jewelry and puzzles. The orb is a collection of stainless steel wires in half circles connected by colored beads and sliding washers. It can be transformed into many different shapes, from flat circles, to an open ended sphere as well. Check out the picture for some possibilities. Because of its appearance, I can wear it as a bracelet or carry it around in my hand and it will not attract attention unless I want it to, and if I have the desire to play with it, there it is.
My new toy got its first real test in early August when my dear friend Dylon got married and I decided to travel to New Jersey to witness the union between he and his lady Michelle. After all. I knew the trip was going to take at least 5 hours. and since Dylon loves toys as much as I, it seemed natural that I take “Heaven’s Orb” with me. My orb happens to have blue beads so it looked rather attractive in one of the bracelet shapes with my jeans.
On my trip, whenever I got a little bored and did not feel like reading, I would take my bracelet off and manipulate it into the various forms. I found that it relaxed me as the train made its numerous stops between Virginia and Jersey. It entertained me as well as my seat mate, who enjoyed watching me play with it. She kept saying she would just have to find one. Eventually I arrived at my destination, arranged the orb into a flat formation, and slid it into my purse.
After a very nice reunion with my friends we went to one of their favorite places for lunch. They caught me up on the happenings since we had last spoken, wedding plans and the like. I suddenly recalled the orb in my purse, reached in and pulled it out. Smiling at Michelle, I showed it to Dylon. His face lit up at the sight of the steel wire, just as I knew it would. I handed it over to him and he proceeded to manipulate it from shape to shape and gasp with delight each time he found a new configuration for the orb. I decided immediately that I would just have to surprise Dylon with his very own “Heaven’s Orb” at some point in the future.
I spent the weekend in Jersey and attended the wedding of my friends and had a very pleasant time. When I got home on Sunday I contacted the friend who had gotten me the orb to find out where it had come from. Initially he could not recall where he had found it, but after a bit of conversation we determined that it had been purchased at a store called “Natural Wonders”. This was great news for me because it just happens to be one of my favorite stores at the mall.
On Friday of the next week, I took the orb to work with me and carried it around or wore it as I spent time working on various projects with co-workers. Over the course of a meeting or discussion, I would take the bracelet off my wrist and play with it as I worked on solutions to problems that were presented to me. The toy caught the eye of a couple of different people who just had to hold it or touch it, which led to manipulating it. Just as with Dylon, it seems that everyone who touches it is fascinated and just can not put it down. I had to take it from one coworker with the promise to pick one up for them as soon as I could.
On Saturday I drove to the mall and was very pleased to find several of the wonderful toys at my Natural Wonders store in various colors. I decided to pick up a few of them: one with amber beads for my work friend, purple beads for myself, and for Dylon I chose deep green beads. I mailed a package off the following week and anxiously waited for Dylon to receive his very own “Heaven’s Orb”.
In a week or so the snail mail reached Dylon with his new toy and of course he was quite thrilled with his surprise, but what neither of us might have expected was just how much Michelle enjoyed the toy. He proceeded to tell me that if he put it down she quickly picked it up and just would not let him have it back.
The next morning Dylon informed me that when he came to sit down at his computer he began to look for his orb, but to no avail. Michelle had apparently hidden it from him. I teased him a bit that perhaps he had been playing with it too much and she was teaching him a lesson. He laughed but said that he really hadn’t had all that much opportunity to play with it once she had gotten hold of it. We both remarked that she had shown no interest in it before, but then realized that perhaps she had been distracted by a little thing like a wedding or something.
It was at about this time that Dylon approached me about writing a column all about toys. The more we talked about it, the more we realized that adults sometimes need toys as much as kids do. It was only natural that the first column be all about “Heaven’s Orb”. I have been quite amazed at how much the toy relaxes people and seems to soothe them when angry, entertain them when bored and the best part… it never fails to make someone smile.
“Heaven’s Orb” is manufactured by Design Science Toys Ltd., email address [email protected]. The company does not have a product web site but I did locate a toll free phone number on the packaging: 1-800-227-2316. I called the number and talked to a very friendly operator, who took my address to send me a catalog of the various products available through the company.
Within a week, I received the colorful 10 page catalog which showed various toys and puzzles made of wood, plastic, metals and paper for ages ranging between 6 months to adult. Many of the items made by the company are considered educational and the company in fact does sell directly to educational facilities. Currently their only retail outlet is Natural Wonders, a chain with many stores in the states, but they will send out catalogs and take mail orders through the regular mail or by fax.
In the catalog I was pleased to find that there is a miniature version of the orb called “Heaven’s Pendant” which comes hung on a cord and can be worn as a pendant. My plan is to order some of these along with a few more of the orbs and keep them on hand for presents as occasions come up. There is no doubt in my mind that these wonderful toys will be loved by anyone they are presented to, at least that has proven to be true so far.
“Be sure and come back soon for more discussion about toys that please the eye and engage the mind.”
– Barbara Mudd