September 20, 2016

Magic White Crystal Surprise. The Natural Surprise Ball


In February 2016, Judy and her musician partner, Dan Bonow, travelled to The Tucson Gem & Mineral Show. This is the largest gem show in the world. Annually, rock hounds come from all over the world to display and purchase everything from diamonds to fossils.

Judy and Dan go on the last days and they always purchase huge bags of fossils and gems from the international vendors, for Surprise Balls and Treasure Candles.  Surprises include fossils, shark teeth talismans, meteorites, crystal marbles, amethyst, crystal points, rose quartz, rubies & Judy’s favorite: fluorite octahedrons.

This year the beauty of some geodes stopped her.  These came cracked already with a black band holding them in place.  They had beautiful white crystals lining the inside.  The geode fit in her palm. What could she put inside that geode that would be an added surprise?  A fortune!  The natural Surprize Ball.

Crystal Geode Surprise are available on the website.

Staff Writer


May 23, 2016

TOPS Malibu shows up big at New York Stationery Show 2016

Dan, Judy's musician partner, represented TOPS Malibu at our booth at the New York Stationery Show in May.  Was he ever surprised to round a corner during set-up to see Judy representing in a BIG way!  There hung a floor-to-ceiling banner featuring Judy’s beautiful and timeless words beneath an image that captured her essence as a designer.  A friend & assistant to Judy for a number of years now, I can honestly affirm that she embodies every word of the quote featured beneath her amazingly youthful image.  I wasn’t around from the beginning, but I know from the stories she has told me herself that Judy lives true to her own dreams, intuition & path.  If she’s not having fun then she’s not having any of it.  Judy loves what she does and if she doesn’t love it, then she questions & changes until she finds the joy in it again.

Judy is an inspiration and an incredible example of art in motion as she continues to create delightful creations that dare anyone to engage with life as they open themselves to her products meant to spark conversation, surprise, and connection.

May 11, 2016

Graduation Candy Lei

The TOPS Malibu design office is based in Hawaii. When I arrived 10 years ago several people took me under their wing. I became a part of their Ohana (family) and they taught me about the Hawaiian way and what Aloha meant to them.

Aloha [Alo = presence, front, face] + [ha = breath] ‘The presence of (Divine) Breath.’ The breath of life. According to the kahunas (priests), living Aloha is sending and receiving a positive energy & living in harmony. Aloha means: Peace, hello, farewell, love, unity, sharing breath. The word expresses compassion & a wish for well being. Its deep meaning starts by teaching us to love & respect ourselves. When you live the Spirit of Aloha, you create positive feelings & thoughts that spread to others. 

Judy has always created products that have more depth than just a novelty. The Candy Lei is one of those items. Leis are often given when you are arrive or leave, or to celebrate an occasion.

I was told the best gift you could give is a lei; it shows how much your care for the other person.  I enjoy collecting flowers and stringing my own lei.  Most of all I enjoy giving them.  The way you give a lei is important as well. The person receiving the lei bows their head so the lei may be placed around their neck. It is customary to kiss the cheek of the recipient as you let go of the lei.

Graduation Candy Lei:

It’s May in Hawaii which means the plumeria are in bloom and children are busy practicing their school performances for May Day Celebrations. It is also the time of year for graduations. Many flowers are collected and carefully strung with love. Graduates in Hawaii are greeted by smiling faces of family and friends who adorn them with leis after they collect their diplomas. As graduates leave school they are given a lei to celebrate  beginning a new life chapter.

I concluded it is appears to be a contest of who gathers the most lei at graduation in Hawaii. The variety of flowers, candy, and styles of lei was boggling to me. Imagine the abundance of flowers collected to create lei for any of the events that are happening on Island in May. There are lei contests in the park.   - Courtney Puig, Staff Writer

The Candy Lei by TOPS Malibu is a thoughtful sweet treat for any graduate from College to Kindergarten.

January 28, 2016

Flying Magic® Butterfly meets haute couture

Surprise!  You never know where Flying Magic® Butterfly will show up next.  This week it's in a design studio where high fashion meets innovation.  We think your Valentine would love to be surprised by some Flying Magic® Butterflies tucked into a card, a book, a laptop, or ???!  The best part:  use it over & over again by just rewinding.

December 11, 2015

Surprising stories – History of Surprise Balls

Sometimes we stumble across the most interesting information even we didn’t know, about the history of Surprise Balls!  Judy tells us that Charles Gregor brought back the idea from his homeland Germany where mothers taught their daughters how to knit by hiding toys and trinkets in the ball of yarn.  As the child knit, she came across little toys and continued knitting.  He transferred the idea to Surprise balls made with crepe paper ribbon in the 1950s.


Paris Market Blogspot  writes:

“The earliest evidence of Surprise Balls was found in Native American culture. Traditionally, it was a common practice to tell the history of one's life with a unique ball of twigs, grass, string, etc. The first layer represented birth & then for significant events in life, another layer & memento were added. Surprise Balls in Native American culture represented a person's entire life.   

Surprise Balls became vogue in America in the 1950s when a gent named Charles Gregor in New Orleans created, "The Surprise Ball: The Toy You Destroy to Enjoy." The Surprize Ball soon made its appearance in FAO Schwarz, Mayo Clinic, The Children's Hospital in Minnesota, Ben Franklin Crafts, & The Nut Tree near San Francisco. 

Eventually, the trend stopped as trends tend to do. But then in the 1980s, Judy Walker remembered Surprise Balls from her childhood. She began to collect original trinkets & surprises, like Fortune Fish & vintage toys, then wrapped them into colorful crepe paper to create the Surprize Ball, which is now loved by people of all ages & for every sort of occasion.”


We are thrilled to be credited with reviving such a special tradition.

May your holidays be fun, festive and full of surprise!

July 13, 2015

Elf, Santa Design Creations become Works of Art at TOPS Malibu workshop

Fresh from our TOPS Malibu workshop are our new Elf Surprize Balls, Santa Surprize Ball, and Olde World Ornament Surprize Balls.

In May, Judy wrote about her enjoyment of designing in the Kauai greenhouse studio.   She came up with the Deluxe Elf and Santa Surprize Balls.  Today,  we are marketing her new designs.  Samples were sent to the Trade Shows and orders have  already been taken for Christmas & Holiday sales.
At our Eugene, Oregon workshop, local artisans perfect the designs, assemble and decorate the Surprize balls for customers.  We don't work on assembly lines; each ball is handcrafted, wrapped one at a time, layer by layer, then an artist decorates a group of about 30 balls, carefully adding  each face and other decorations to the ball.  The process of making one Surprize Ball is truly a work of art!  -Staff Writer                                                                                                                                       

 We are proud to be a Made in the USA company that crafts products this old fashioned way.

May 27, 2015

The best drink in the world

Elderberry rose lemonade with just the right sweetness and light fizz

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