Monday, January 3, 2011

Large Lego on the Loose

Continuing the spirit of all things Danish, Elliott, Jane, the kids and I all enjoyed a visit to Sydney Aquarium this morning to visit the underwater beasties as well as larger than life LEGO ® models – “Australia’s largest collection of super-sized LEGO creations”. They will be on display until the end of May and I highly recommend that you go and see them, as they really enhance the whole Sydney Aquarium experience. I was quite awed, actually!

Kids under four are admitted for free (great for Sam and Lucy) and Zack and Max (fee payers) each received “your World Exclusive LEGO minifigure”, though these were not well advertised and I had to ask, nicely. Twice.

When I did some website homework last night before today’s adventure, I read about how the LEGO artworks have been painstakingly designed and assembled by the LEGO Master Model Builders (wish I had thought of that as a profession when I was growing up, how fab is that!) from the US.

At Sydney Aquarium, I read that we could check out "huge scale myths and legends of the sea" – including Moby Dick, Neptune, a pirate, mermaid, killer whale tail and more. Today, the first model we found (we walked straight past Neptune without even noticing him, so it was good to spot him on the way out as well!) was near the wriggly turtles, and was a pirate at a ship's wheel. He had a cute face and was brilliantly built, as you can see here.

LEGO Pirate at sea
Then, as we walked through the shark display I looked up to notice a massive great white shark, built to scale, in LEGO! It was amazing! Hanging from the ceiling, no less. They showed a video of it being made, with the Master Builder talking about how many pieces were used, its weight, etc.

Great White Shark LEGO
And on the wall below, was a vast mural made of 331,776 pieces of LEGO. You know how the top of a LEGO piece it has a little ® trademarks on it? Well, the mural’s façade was made of the tops of lots and lots of LEGO pieces in every colour imaginable and the more you stood back, the more you could see the large scene they all made together. This first one showed LEGO pirates on boats, fighting, on vast seas. So, so clever.

Mermaid above the Dugong aquarium

LEGO man with penguin, located next to the penguins

Moby Dick, a huge gleaming white beast

Mural behind the sperm whale Moby Dick, showing Captain Ahab about to seek revenge for the loss of his leg, bitten off by Moby Dick in a previous encounter**

Scuba diving LEGO

Apparently, there are more LEGO statues and animals to be seen at Sydney Wildlife World, but after temporarily losing Sam for a few minutes today, I think I will give those a miss!

PS:  **  Wikipedia search results on Captain Ahab and Moby Dick: 
Ahab hurls his last harpoon while yelling his now-famous revenge line:
... to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee.
The harpoon becomes lodged in Moby Dick's flesh and Ahab, caught around the neck by a loop in his own harpoon's rope and unable to free himself, is dragged into the cold oblivion of the sea with the injured whale. The mechanics of Ahab's death are richly symbolic. He is literally killed by his own harpoon, and symbolically killed by his own obsession with revenge. The whale eventually destroys the whaleboats and crew, and sinks the Pequod.

Some story! On that note, I'm off to bed with Water for Elephants by Sara Groen, which I am really enjoying!

Long live LEGO!

Hop along!

Large Overall Rabbit, Girl, depicted on Maileg website

'Hop along!' is something I will always associate with Mor Far - Antonia's maternal grandfather, may he rest in peace - who used to say this to us regularly on our visits to Virum and Rorvig in Denmark, where I have been lucky enough to visit on many occasions throughout my life! In fact, I now use it with my boys all the time! Thought it also made an apt title for this little blog post, which will be about Danish rabbits, amongst other things. I'm also including lots of pics, as I love reading other people's blogs which contain lots of photos! I hope you like them too!
"These rabbits live in a wonderful lair behind a tiny hill-top. There are sisters and brothers, nephews, cousins and a whole family. Every morning they wake up the sun, before it rises, and in the evening they eat star-sprinkles with warm milk using a silver spoon."
Wow, how good does that sound? Potentially a great inspiration for anyone – maybe even me, one day – who wants to write a story inspired by this paragraph. I found the paragraph on eBay item descriptions earlier today, as well as on Maileg’s own website, describing its 100% cotton rabbit toys, which I happen to love! Tiny hill-top in Danish is "lillebitte bakketop". Ha ha, what a great language!

The rabbit at the top of this post is called Overall Girl. She is probably one of the cousins, keeping in mind that the whole collection is called "Brothers and Sisters".

Yes, more about Danish design … what can I say? And it’s not just rabbits, either, but little people, Christmas Pixies, mice which live in match boxes and more – heaven!

Back to that first para:  Can you imagine? The rabbits would have to have their own names, unique personalities and most importantly, a way of living together to capture kids’ (and our) imaginations. I may well write about these little treasures, so keep your eyes peeled. And yes, that first liner will have to be all important, according to Alexander McCall Smith, remember?!

Now, a little more about Maileg, “a Danish lifestyle design company”. Established in 1999 by Dorthe and Erik Mailil, the collection has a unique – and extremely well made - authentic look and touch created by Dorthe, a trained graphic designer. She is known for emphasising seasons into her work, especially Christmas and Easter, both traditions I like to observe with unique decorations around the house. The name Maileg does not seem to mean anything, unless it is a combination of the first three letters of their surname - Mai - and the Danish word for game - leg. Who knows?

Christmas Pixies, depicted on Maileg website
love all the Christmas Pixies, shown here, which you can actually buy in Sydney at sole distributors Nordic Fusion, located in Mosman and Manly. I asked Mum to go to the Mosman shop for me the other day, when she mentioned that she was going to Mosman anyway, with hopeful instructions to reap some Christmas sale treasures for me, especially those lovely Christmas Pixies! Thanks Mum! I can't wait to meet them all, which I know will include some of the above little poppets.

Antonia actually sent me my first Maileg toy a few years ago, and I have been in love with her ever since. Isn’t she pretty? She has pale pink blush on her cheeks and is wearing a little elasticated red cotton skirt, to keep her modesty intact. She's been sitting alongside a range of other Danish treasures in our living room. I will post about my other Christmas decorations soon, as part of saluting them on their way back into storages boxes until Christmas 2011!

 Christmas Pixie sent to me from Antonia, about four years ago

Quality is key to all things Maileg. Each toy is designed in Denmark, made of 100% cotton (not sure if they are made in DK, will check - just did: My Pixie's bum reveals that she was made in China. Hmm.) and popular all over the world. I could not resist today when I was browsing a UK website, found after googling Maileg: They sell a whole collection of Maileg goodies, some of which were begging (me) to move to our wonderful shores ... Here, I'll introduce you to some who are hopefully on their way soon!

Magnetic climbing Christmas Pixies, bought from Bijou Lifestyle, UK.
They will be making a proud (and cheeky) appearance this Christmas!

Cute as a button, a little mouse, who lives in his own match box.
He may well be welcoming visitors throughout the year and was also found at Bijou Lifestyle!

This gorgeous clown, who I will have sitting on my desk to remind me to have more fun!
He is also joining his friends from Bijou Lifestyle, UK.

OK, hop along now. It's almost time for bed! Hop, hop!