The Operation Begins…

August 17, 2012 § 3 Comments

I’ve been a little slow to get started with this since I had to figure out what exactly to put in her cage and then where to get all of it, but one of the first things I did was to call up my good friend Donna at Exotic Wood Dreams and ask her for her expertise.  (You can go to her website for product information and photos, but you must call to place an order.  You cannot email or use the form on the site.)  Donna has created some really beautiful grapevine creations for us in the past, and I knew that she would be able to whip up something for Sabrina’s new natural environment.  As usual, she didn’t disappoint.  She crafted an absolutely beautiful swing (not quite a flyer; it was made for in cage use obviously) out of grapevine and sisal, completely with a coconut foraging cup.

Unfortunately, photos really don’t flatter how well positioned the branches are, but it really is a beauty.  It has an amazing spread of branches that really give her a lot of useful perching areas and space to roam.  It also has a really cool, knotted sisal rope connected at various areas for her to climb.

I’m not sure if the second angle helps at all, but Donna did an amazing job of making sure that there is a lot of usable space and that no branches are going to get totally soiled while she hangs out above them.  When I get it hanging in the cage, I’ll take better photos, and ones with Sabrina on them too, but naturally she’s terrified of the thing right now.  I’m slowly acclimated her to the idea of it invading her personal space.

Donna also thought that Sabrina might love a little tunnel in which to hide.  She has these fabulous grapevine wood tunnel pieces and made a side-mounted one for little Sabrina.  It’s too cute:

She was so thoughtful about it: she added these wooden spacers to the side to make sure that Sabrina couldn’t get stuck when it was mounted to the side of the cage.  There’s even a soft leather “roof” and a removable leather “rug” for her, along with lots of baubles of leather and wood toys to play with.  What’s even cuter, however, is the other end of the tunnel, which has little toys that come down the sides like the tasseled entrance to a fancy club house!

It’s so cute, tiny, and delicate in person, and I know Sabrina is absolutely going to love it.  The grapevine wood tunnel was her favorite part of the table top stand, so she’s definitely going to spend a lot of time playing in and around it.  I am aware that it can possibly cause nesting issues and will definitely work to prevent those, but I think that she will love this nonetheless.  It’s really well made (by request, Donna uses only stainless steel hardware) and has so many fun, different types of wood as well.

But she didn’t stop there!  Donna even included a whole bunch of different natural toys for Sabrina using all different types of textures included sisal, cotton, yucca, grapevine wood, cholla, leather, sandblasted manzanita, pine, and more.  The photograph only includes some of the wonderful toys she sent along.  In the center are a bunch of teeny tiny wood pieces as well, which will go into her foraging cup for her to play with as she enjoys.

Didn’t she do a great job?  I absolutely love this beautiful, new swing, the tunnel, and the toys, and I know Sabrina will too (eventually, when she’s feeling brave).  I’ll post photos of her with her goodies as soon as I can!

New Budgie Setups!

February 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

We’re still alive!  No reason for the hiatus really, just taking a break I guess.  Anyway, I recently gave the budgies’ home a makeover (I try to every few weeks or maybe two months at the most).  A lot of the beautiful perches I’ve been collecting have been put to good use.  I’m pretty happy with these setups and the budgies seem to be enjoying them as well.  I like the variety and they’ve actually both been using all levels of the cage too, which is always nice.  The photos actually show the setup before I made the final tweaks, so it looks slightly different from the earliest ones, but I took a few to show the changes I made below.  Here are the earlier ones.

the entire cage

There’s the entire view, which I think looks pretty good!  They both have a lot of different types of perches, swings, toys, and surfaces on their respective sides.  We’ll take a closer look now, starting with Sabrina’s side.

Sabrina's side

the top level of Sabrina's side

Here it is, except the bamboo safety pedicure perch right in front on the door is no longer there; I removed it and replaced it with a manu mineral perch.  (Photos of that are below).  On the top you see that there is her tire-style sleepy swing, of course, a boing, and a single ring swing, all from Grey Feather Toys.  Since they are most likely to roost at the top parts of the cage, I like to make sure that these perches are extra comfy.  She also has one of those great foraging toys and a nice noisy bell toy as well that she loves to ring while playing and swinging on her boing.

the middle level of Sabrina's side

Below the upper level, she has a pine wood platform perch, a cajeput perch, and a beautiful, curvy grapevine wood perch from Exotic Wood Dreams.  There’s a stainless steel water bowl and a food bowl that isn’t visible, along with toys made of shreddables, beads, fleece, and more.

the lower level of Sabrina's side

Down below, Sabrina has a purple safety pedicure perch, two beautiful sandblasted manzanita wood perches from Things for Wings, and another curvy grapevine wood perch as well that is in the door so it’s not visible in this view.  She has one more food or water bowl, and some great toys as well, including soft preening cotton, noisy toys, and beakable beads.

Charles's side

the top level of Charles's side

Here’s Charles’s side!  Up top he has his matching tire-style sleepy swing and boing, and then a supreme cotton rope fluffy swing that he can preen from Big Beaks Bird Toys.  He has some adorable toys too, including a fleece puff, a leather horse, a bunny with seagrass and beads, and a foraging block too.  Just below there you can see the multi-branch dragonwood perch from the Birdsafe Store, which Charles is just obsessed with.

the middle level and part of the front section of Charles's side

Here you can sort of see an absolutely gorgeous grapevine wood perch with a very neat configuration, a manu mineral perch, and a corner dragonwood perch as well.  Up top you’ll also see a pine wood platform perch that is on the “upper level.”  Three food bowls in total on his side as well, along with some great stainless steel toys and a beautiful shredder toy too.

the lower level of Charles's side

This photo actually shows a somewhat better view of the beautiful grapevine wood perch, but it doesn’t quite capture its beauty and its very unique design.  It’s really something.  Down below, there’s a sandblasted manzanita perch and a cajeput perch as well, along with a side-mounted MegaFone from Grey Feather Toys and a lovely shredder toy as well.

changes made to the cage setup

Finally, here are the changes made to the setup: they all happened to be in the front of the cage, on the door.  In this view, you can’t see where the divider falls, but basically right in the middle: so the small ribbonwood perch and the soapbox perch fall on Charles’s side, and the larger flat cajeput platform perch along with the manu mineral perch for Sabrina.  They both like to stand on these respective levels and make longing eyes at each other from across the acrylic divider, silly birds.  (Of course, when I let them play together, it’s instant chaos and aggression.)

the beautiful cage covers

Finally, I absolutely can’t get any flattering photos, unfortunately, but here are the beautiful cage covers!  These photos do not do them any justice at all whatsoever.  They are absolutely gorgeous and made from very heavy, high quality fabric, and are completely lined with a heavy sateen that keeps all the light out.  The seams are hidden and the workmanship is just incredible.  I love that the two fabrics are complementary but they aren’t match-y.  I am so pleased with them!  If you are interested in these beautiful covers please let me know and I will give you the email of the wonderful woman who makes them.  She does not have a site or anything; she is actually a custom curtain and window treatment maker, so she really does quite an excellent job with these.

The Budgies’ New Stand

April 23, 2011 § 3 Comments

I have some very exciting news!  Donna, the owner of Exotic Wood Dreams, is a very good friend of mine.  (You can visit her website to see her beautiful creations, BUT she does not have internet access and therefore cannot take email inquiries or web orders– you must call.  Let me know if you plan to and I can probably get you a discount!)  We talk on the phone frequently and as I sent her a modest gift a short while ago, she phoned me recently with a grand gesture of great generosity: she was building my budgies a tabletop stand– for FREE!  I feel so incredibly blessed and humbled.  She is so kind and I simply cannot believe this wonderful act of generosity!

Charles and Sabrina's custom tabletop stand from Exotic Wood Dreams

Charles and Sabrina hanging out up top

What’s more is that Donna knows about my commitment to using 100% stainless steel and customized this stand for me to use only stainless steel hardware in its entirety.  This made its creation rather difficult because one of her trademark touches is to use boings or bendable rope perches.  She really went above and beyond by special ordering and using a Mother Pluckin’ Bird Toys boing instead, because they are one of the few companies (along with Grey Feather Toys and Oliver’s Garden, and a few others but I can’t speak for theirs) that make excellent quality boings with stainless steel wire interiors.

A hanging grapevine wood swing that is removable

I am so impressed by this beautiful stand.  She really went all out with it, including all of the premium accessories: a custom made ladder, a hanging grapevine swing, a decorated coconut bowl, and even a grapevine tunnel for the budgies, complete with a leather “rug” inside of it.  Actually, it also came with leather “curtains,” but I knew those would freak Charles out so I removed them.  There are plenty of colorful, fun, and unique budgie-appropriate toys as well that I know Sabrina (and hopefully Charles) will have a grand old time destroying!

Sabrina inside the grapevine wood tunnel

By the way, in case any of you have noticed that some of the branches hang over the catcher box, that’s not their usual style — Donna is very cognizant of the fact that most bird owners want all of the branches to hang within the boundaries of the catcher box for the most convenience.  I, however, have a limited space and specifically asked that she NOT limit the spread of the branches in order to fit within the space of the catcher box with my requested dimensions, should they hang over by a few inches on any given side.  That said, it actually hardly hangs over at all– the only parts that do are the tunnel (which doesn’t really matter since it has its own floor), and part of the grapevine swing, which is removable.

Charles and Sabrina checking out the tunnel

I am so pleased and grateful for this beautiful stand!! What’s more important, though, is that the budgies LOVE it!  Although they typically prefer being up high on their Crawler or Oddball or the other hanging gyms, they both adore being on the tabletop just as much.  Grapevine wood is such a wonderful choice for the little guys– so much variation and so many little nooks and crannies to chew.  The two of them are both very active and curious on this gym and it really gets them moving!

Thank you so much to Donna– she is such a wonderful person!!  If any of you are considering ordering, please let me know.  She can be a little bit difficult to understand and communicate with on the phone at first, but she is really fantastic and makes stands of unmatched beauty and quality.  Charles and Sabrina love their new table top!

[This entry has been imported, with some edits, from my previous blog.]

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