New Year, New Setup

January 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

Nothing like a snow day to get in some extra snuggle time with your little loves!  Juno didn’t actually bring all that much snow to our area, but I understand that some areas of New England really got dumped on.  I hope everybody is staying safe and warm.  Lola and I are taking today to get in lots of quality time.  I also thought it would be nice to make some time for the blog!  I changed Lola’s cage setup recently for the new year, and we’ve had a week or two already to test it out.  She and I both approve.  It’s a little different from our normal setups in that we usually have certain places we like certain perches to be, but I decided to change it up and see what happened.

I know I’ve said this before, but I’ve really gotten Lola to truly maximize her cage space by adding foraging opportunities at all different levels.  I know so many people that say their birds never go in the lower half of the cage or favor certain spots.  You can help encourage them to be more active and utilize their space by making sure they get rewarded when they do!  Lola never knows she’ll find down in her toy bucket, or her foraging pot.  So she makes sure to wander over and check them both out regularly.  Take a look:

the whole cage

Here’s the full view, door open.  There’s a bit of a “bald spot” in the back– I had to take out a foraging toy for cleaning, but normally there’d also be a clear acrylic drawer foraging toy in the lower back between the cotton rope perch and the sandblasted manzanita corner perch.  We’ll take a tour from left to right.

the door

Here’s the door, which is simple but has a few perching spots for Lola.  On the left is a natural cork bark perch from I Got a Woody Bird Toys, along with one of their fantastic basswood and cork toys (or, what’s left of it), and at the bottom on the right is a treasured cajeput perch.  Yes, I may have hoarded a few of them over the years.

the left side of the cage

Moving towards the left, there are two stainless steel ring bowl holders (the cage is empty right now because I was changing water and cleaning, etc.).  The center top perch is one of the Fantastic Foraging Perches from Things for Wings.  Lola loves this perch.  The sides are totally torn up as she makes her way through it.  I like to stuff treats or even veggies in the foraging holes.  Try threading a whole skinny carrot or even a leafy green (broccolini can work nicely) through them.  There’s another Things for Wings toy above that, and to the right is her favorite Avian Stainless toy, the Crosswinds.

Moving downwards, on the far left is an awesome side-mounted toy from I Got a Woody, and Lola’s trusty double-bolted ribbon wood perch from the Birdsafe Store in the middle.  Normally, I always put this one high up as a roosting perch, but I’m actually finding it works nicely in that spot.  The area below the side door is always kind of a weird place because you can’t really hang toys on the door or else they get in the way when you’re opening and closing them, but this perch allowed me to put the foraging pot in the middle, and gives Lola some room to move around easily.  Finally, on the right is an Eco Perch from Polly’s.  I like that it helps to keep Lola’s nails trim, but is not at all abrasive.

the center back view

bonus photo of lola

Here’s the center back (and Lola!).  You can see the Eco Perch on the left, but in the foreground is Lola’s snuggly supreme cotton rope swing from Big Beaks.  Behind it in the back is her awesome Skywalk perch from Oliver’s Garden.  I’m not sure you can tell from the photo, but it’s a really, really cool hardwood platform perch with embedded beads, and a “trap door” of sorts in the center.  Hanging above it in the back is a garland toy packed with fantastic parts from I Got a Woody.  Snaking from the lower center to the upper right is our favorite cotton rope perch from Grey Feather Toys.  We are still sad that we can’t get another, but this one is really holding up beautifully.  Like I said above, normally there would be an acrylic foraging toy in the center back, but I pulled it out to give it a good wash.

the right side

And finally, bringing us to our last view, the right side.  There’s the last stainless steel ring holder, and the big toy in the foreground is a really cool Things for Wings toy.  It was actually supposed to be a holiday toy, but I requested it un-dyed.  It’s big and packed full of toy parts, but most of them are soft shreddables– this would be a great toy even for the little guys who aren’t intimidated by size.  It used to have a few more vine balls, but Lola has since torn them off trying to seek out the treats I sneak into them!  The green perch is a Safety Pumice Perch which also helps to keep her nails trim, and the toy on the far right is another cool side-mounted foraging toy from I Got a Woody.  Lola loves to rummage through it for almonds or other goodies.

Moving down a level, her faithful stainless steel toy bucket is mounted to the side, full of lots of foot toys and abandoned toy parts, flanked by a natural wood perch.  I think it’s sandblasted manzanita, as is the corner perch.  Hanging in between it is another great Things for Wings toy.

And that’s the current configuration!  I’m happy to report that so far, her droppings seem to miss whatever’s below them due to placement.  The only one that really gets soiled is the foraging platform, because of its width.  So it gets cleaned a lot.  Toys get rotated and changed weekly.  I like to make sure to change where the foraging opportunities are so that she has to keep guessing.  I have this awesome  basket toy from Things for Wings (I think it’s called the Cornucopia) which is full of nooks and crannies for treat hiding.  That one’s getting rotated in next.  The fantastic foraging block might also make an appearance soon.  Who knows what else?

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A Christmas Woodie

November 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s officially “acceptable” to start decorating for my very favorite holiday of the year:  Christmas!  I love getting Lola’s cage decked out with festive decor and ornaments and garlands.  Of course, it’s slightly more difficult with my “all natural” color scheme, but thankfully the ladies at I Got a Woody were up to the challenge!  I asked them to design a custom toy for Lola– some sort of Christmas tree with a few parameters, but mostly I left the details up to their creative license.  I absolutely love how it turned out!  There may not be color, but I think it captures the spirit of the season quite well.  Unfortunately, my photo really doesn’t do it justice, but it’s lovely.

lola’s custom christmas tree

To create the shape of a Christmas tree, they used four carefully carved balsa chunks that mimic the boughs and branches of a real tree, and embedded little ornaments into the branches– cute little hardwood beads.  They make great foraging opportunities and always entice Lola.  The tree is also decorated with chain garlands hanging from the different levels, and there is a real natural wood trunk at the bottom (not visible in the photo).  Beneath the tree are extra fun presents, in the form of chunky corks and hardwood beads.  It’s even topped off with a pretty wicker star!  What’s more, it’s all strung on a stainless steel skewer, so when Lola’s all done destroying it, I can refill the base and turn it into an entirely new toy.  This toy came out perfectly.  I couldn’t be more pleased.

santa’s belly foraging toy

and the goodies within

I purchased another Christmas toy, but without the color– it doesn’t quite look like Santa’s Belly without the distinctive red, but I still think the toy is awesome.  It has two wicker baskets that hide lots of treats within, like basswood, turned corks, natural cork bark, and more.  Of course, there’s lots to chew both above and below as well!  I wonder how long it will take Lola to realize that it’s the perfect spot to hide an in shell almond.

side-mounted basket toys

A few other toys also incorporated the foraging opportunities of baskets, but in the form of side-mounted toys instead.  They both come equipped with stainless steel mounts, which I love because they can be installed exactly where you want them (as opposed to only where there’s a horizontal cross bar).  I especially like to install foraging toys at lower levels of the cage, where Lola might not necessarily visit without something to attract her there.  The possibility of a treat hiding in one of her baskets always does the trick.  The smaller basket on the left is open on top, but has cork, wicker, and beads flowing from it, whereas the basket on the right has a balsa “cover” that hides the goodies within.

garland toys

close-ups of the garlands

These garland toys are huge and packed with so many toy parts.  The first one, Twigs and Berries, really has a ton: basswood slats with bark, willow chunks, natural cork bark, tons of hardwood beads, shredders, paper, and probably more.  It’s a really good size and will definitely last at least a little longer than Lola’s average toy.  The next toy included a few custom twists, like larger vine balls (which are also great for foraging!), and includes balsa with embedded beads, cardboard, and even more beads.  The garland toys can be hung at both their ends, either side to side, up and down, diagonally, or even hanging from the ceiling like a swing.

isis and mini sanitarium

The last two toys are surefire hits.  On the left is the Isis.  I made the mistake last time of only getting the small version, which Lola quickly turned into toothpicks in no time.  She couldn’t get enough of fishing the turned corks out of the thin, crunchy pine.  So this time, we got the large.  But perhaps I didn’t quite learn the lesson because I only ordered the Mini Sanitarium.  (Yes, there’s and even bigger version!)  This one has huge jumbo corks and basswood triangles.  We’ll see how it fares under her beak!

a humongous basswood platform perch

The last addition to the order was one of the basswood platform perches.  Oh my goodness, I had no idea how MASSIVE it is!  It’s like a serving platter!  I think it’s a bit too big for the inside of Lola’s cage, so I’ll have to figure out where it can go.  Perhaps it’ll be her new balcony?

the whole order all together

That ‘s it all together.  We are so happy with this awesome order and are ready to get decorating!

A Whole Lot of Woody

September 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

Installment three of spoiling Lola silly… you didn’t think we were over just yet, did you? This awesome bundle of fun comes from I Got a Woody Bird Toys, whose toys Lola just can’t get enough of! This time around, I decided to try out a whole bunch of brand new toys of theirs that Lola hasn’t seen before, but also stock up on all of her favorite skewer clusters. I love that they have so many toys that encourage some form of foraging as well as so many different types of toys.

side-mounted toys

For example, some of my favorite types of toys are side-mounted toys, but they aren’t nearly as common as hanging toys. I like side-mounted toys because they don’t have to be hung from the top of the cage or a horizontal bar; you can put them anywhere and exactly where you like. They also serve a wonderful purpose in travel cages. I don’t like to put any hanging toys in travel cages because with the stop and go motion in a car, it’s so easy for a hanging and swinging toy to suddenly become a danger or a hazard for a parrot, knocking him off the perch or even doing more harm than that. I Got a Woody has recently started creating a lovely collection of side-mounted toys, and some of them even come with the option of stainless steel hardware, which is my favorite type of side-mounted toy as it is the most secure.

a side view of the devil’s knot toy

Here’s a side view of the hardware in the first toy, the Devil’s Knot. This toy has a whole bunch of arms loaded with fun parts, but the base is half of a wooden chunk with stainless steel hardware. It’s such a great side-mounted toy that you can put anywhere in the cage. Lola is absolutely nuts about these mahogany toy parts, but there are very few toys that incorporate them. This one is in her cage and she’s already picked apart several of the mahogany pieces.

The second toy in the original picture above is another awesome side-mounted toy called the Tequila. This one is a perfect candidate for a travel cage, which is exactly where it will go. What I like is that there are no swinging arms or parts that might pose a danger in a moving vehicle, but there’s still tons of fun and foraging packed in.

two hanging toys and some skewer clusters

Next up, I chose two new hanging toys for Lola, the Twisted Sister as well as the Lucinda.  Below those are three of Lola’s favorite skewer clusters, which incorporate an awesome foraging foot toy as well as beads and bark.  Lola is a huge fan of those already, but I know she’s going to love these two new toys as well.  The Twisted Sister has tons of thin, chippable basswood slats that even have bark on them, and sandwiched between them are wonderful morsels of cork bark.  What bird could resist so much bark and chipping fun?

close up of the Lucinda

I had to take a close up of the Lucinda to show you how much is packed in there.  There’s cork bark, cork bark stuffed with beads, basswood stuffed with miniature pine cones, barky curly things, thin natural wood coins with bark, seagrass, and shreddable paper!  This toy has so much fun stuff packed in plus so many little nooks and crannies hiding beads and mini pine cones– I can’t wait to give it to Lola.  There’s so much going on here.

a lot of skewer clusters and foot toys!

There’s no way I can name them all, but Lola also got a ton of different skewer cluster pieces and foot toys.  They combine her precious mahogany, lots of tasty cork bark, some pine, some basswood, some more cork, some snappy beads, and probably more that I’m forgetting.  On the bottom left are also some awesome basswood and cork pieces that the lovely ladies at I Got a Woody threw in as a gift.

the vesta foot toy

They’re all awesome, but this is a new foot toy I was particularly excited about– the Vesta.  It’s a piece of cork bark stuffed with more cork and then finished off with even more cork and wood beads on the end!  If your birds like cork, I think this one is a must-have.  Cork within cork surrounded by cork 🙂

humongous foot toys!

Finally, I finished off the order with three HUMONGOUS foot toys! I knew they’d be big but I didn’t quite realize just what I was getting Lola into. I think they’re a bit too big for her to hold on her own, but I’ve put two in her foot toy pail and she seems to be enjoying them while the pail supports their hefty weight. In the future though, I think these foot toys belong in the talons of the big guys, like a big Greenwing or Hyacinth Macaw, or large Cockatoo.

All in all I don’t think we did too shabby. Lola is already enjoying several of these awesome toys. Since the ladies at I Got a Woody are so darned creative and always thinking up awesome new creations, I’m sure it won’t be long until we have an entire batch of more brand new toys to try out! Thanks ladies!

Spring Fever

April 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

Ever since the much-anticipted arrival of Spring, the woodchuck within Lola seems to have awakened and returned to the call of relentless wood destruction! She calmed down quite a bit this Winter, but the past few weeks she has truly been no holds barred.

half an hour’s worth of destruction!

That’s the mess she made in between the short time it took me to get ready one morning. She stripped a chunky willow bark perch nearly clean and made a lot of headway on one of those pretty Things for Wings toys! Thankfully, I had placed an order with I Got a Woody Bird Toys during their early April sale, and it arrived just in time to sate Lola, for now.

three big toys for lola

She got three big toys this time, Beadazzled, the Barrel Bead Wacky Woody, and Iris. The Wacky Woody from last time was a huge hit with her, so I figured I’d order her another, this time with her absolute favorite little barrel beads that provide such a satisfying snap. This toy certainly won’t last long under her beak, but I know she’ll relish every minute of play time with it. The Beadazzled is an awesome new offering from them that is truly packed with parts!  I can’t believe how much is squeezed into this toy from cork to beads to a chunky base.  I’m hoping this one will last a little longer with her.  Finally, we’re also trying the Iris toy for the first time, which has thin, chippable pine slats stuffed with cork, which Lola loves.

foot toys and skewer clusters

But that’s not all!  One of my favorite offerings on the IGAW website is the skewer cluster section.  They make absolutely awesome little clustered toy parts that have small loops on one end so that you can string them onto a skewer and make your own toys in seconds.  It’s perfect for those of us with busy little birds like Lola who are also a bit busy ourselves and can’t always take the time to make toys, but want a simple and safe option for skewered toys.  They are so convenient and really offer a ton of variety.  They also feature some of Lola’s favorite parts like the Hidden Treasure foot toys, lots of chunky cork bark, and embedded beads.

little toys for little sabrina

Sabrina hasn’t quite followed suit with the destruction just yet, but I’m sure she’ll start feeling the fever soon.  In anticipation, I also purchased her two adorable and tiny toys, Butt Naked and Trinity.  Packed with soft and shreddable parts, I am sure they will be a hit.

and some for karat too

Of course, I can’t leave out Karat.  Unlike my guys she absolutely loves straws, so I had to purchase the Serendipity Perch for it loaded with straws, corks, and embedded beads.  I also purchased her the Spring Fling and the Polynesian Princess, both of which are loaded with her favorite toy ingredients, cork and balsa.  I think she’ll be pleased!

Thanks to IGAW for another great order and for keeping these busy beaks quite content!

Lola Turns Four!

April 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

Four years ago today, my lovely little Lola girl hatched! She might be an April Fool’s Day baby but it’s no joke how much I love her. She is my perfect little girl and truly a dream parrot!! My eternal gratitude to the wonderful Maggie Tarleton of Wing Nuts Aviary for raising my beautiful Lola. Here are a few snaps of her from this morning.

And here’s another photo of her on her brand new beautiful birch perch, from I Got a Woody! They very kindly surprised us with this beauty and another huge, chunky willow bark perch this week as a thank you for helping them revamp their website. (I have some web experience and volunteered to help out.) If you haven’t checked out their new site yet, you should! Maybe I’m biased, but I think it’s looking pretty good 🙂 Oh, and even better, they’re having a pretty fantastic 15% off sale right now if you enter the code “Spring1415” at checkout. I picked up some goodies for Lola, Sabrina, and even Karat too!

Actually, it’s a good time to shop, because a few of our favorite stores are holding sales. Off the top of my head I know Avian Organics (celebrating their eighth year!) is having an awesome one as is Oliver’s Garden. Happy Shopping!!

All About Cage Setups

February 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

Setting up a cage well is a real art. I find it very difficult to do, increasingly so the larger your bird is and the less space you have. Whenever I am visiting my mom’s house and have to change the setup of Lola’s temporary cage, the King’s aluminum cage, I always struggle with fixing it up nicely for her because it’s only 33 x 25. (I will admit, Sabrina is pretty easy to deal with because she has quite a bit of space and is so tiny.) But fixing up a cage for a medium to large bird is a totally different story!

Where do you start? In my opinion, the easiest place to start is with the food bowls. For many people, this is the most natural place to start because it is the one part of the cage of which they don’t control the placement, because they use feeder doors. I don’t use feeder doors with attached bowls, but I still think this is the best place to begin, simply because I know that I like to keep the food bowls relatively close to the side doors (in case I ever have to travel, I can have somebody else feed Lola safely), and you’ll know that wherever there is a food bowl, you’ll need at least one perch nearby. That always helps to get me started. I try to change whether they are directly on the door or near by it, level with it, a bit higher, or a bit lower, but mostly they are a relatively constant.

Once the food bowls are in place, you can start placing a few perches. You’ll need one near the bowl, obviously, and I tend to avoid putting perches above food bowls because then you increase the likelihood of clean food or water getting soiled. I did make an exception this time by putting a very wide platform perch above a food bowl because I think it’s wide enough that the bowl getting soiled is not a danger. I’m still testing it out, but hopefully it will work!

After a few perches have found their place, I find the other stuff tends to naturally follow. There are usually a few things we all like to keep in the cage– for Lola, for example, I like to use one cotton rope perch and at least one swing. So those usually go in next, and I try to configure everything so that each perch is reach-able from at least one other without having to climb the cage bars much. I also like to make sure there is a large variety of textures, sizes, and heights. I’ll always include several natural wood perches: some with bark, some without, some curvier, some harder, some softer; a pedicure perch; a platform or two; and a cotton perch. I don’t use dowels, ever– I know that some people feel they are “okay” as long as there are other choices, but why bother with just “okay” when you can do way better with natural wood? The uniformity of dowels simply isn’t comfortable or healthy for parrots’ feet. I know some people also like to have at least one perch that spans the length of width of the cage. I choose not to have one like this because I think it limits placement of other things, but that’s a personal preference.

Once I feel like there is a solid network of perches, that’s when toys and other accessories can get placed. I like to make sure there are a very good variety of toys– a single toy often falls into multiple categories, but I like to make sure that each of these core “functions” is fulfilled: noise-making, foraging, natural wood coins or chunky pine, snap-able wood beads, natural textures like coconut or vine. Some people also include snuggly toys or plastic toys depending on their birds’ preferences. Lola also adores her foot toys, so a good foot toy bucket is a necessity as well.

And that’s all there is to it! Now of course, easier said than done– and every time I rearrange the cage, I am constantly tweaking it for the next several days. That’s okay. Some setups are more successful than others, which is why I always take photos so that I can reinstate the “good” ones after cycling through a few others. This past week I did a new setup for Lola. It’s actually not one of my favorites and I have tweaked it several times since I took these original photos, but Lola really likes the perches I chose, so I’m only making minimal changes for now. Here’s what it looks like.

the entire cage

In my opinion it’s a bit busy, although I have spaced out and lowered some of the perches since taking this photo.  Then again I’ve also added a few more toys, so not sure how it all comes out to balance.

the left side

On the left, there are two out of Lola’s three food bowls, both place on or near the side door.  So that’s where I began with this setup.  In between the two, I placed a curvy grapevine wood perch from the Birdsafe Store so that she could get between the two.  On the left is a forked sandblasted manzanita perch from Things for Wings. On the right is a safety pumice perch, and in the front winding all over is her cotton rope perch.  Up above, you’ll see the wide platform perch I was alluding to earlier.

the foraging platform perch

I love this perch!  Aside from the fact that I can put it above a food bowl because it blocks Lola from soiling it, she really adores it.  It is made by Kris Porter but sold by Things for Wings and I highly recommend it.  As you can see, Lola has already gone to town on it and has been stripping it away and smearing her blueberries on it, but she really enjoys being on it.  I have been wrapping up little treats in unbleached cupcake liners and putting them in the foraging holes and she loves to look in each hole to see what surprises there may be.

the right side

Here’s the other side, where you’ll see the opposite end of the cotton rope perch snaking down.  That perch was from the now-closed Grey Feather Toys and I am still upset about it.  I still can’t find a cotton rope perch with a stainless steel interior that I like as much.  On the right of it, you can barely make it out, but there is a cute little side-mounted foraging pot too hidden under the cork bark perch from I Got a Woody.  That’s another little spot that Lola loves to check for treats.  The cork bark perch at that funky angle proved to be a big hit with Lola, so it reprised its role in this setup.  On the right of it is a lovely, chunky willow bark perch, also from Things for Wings.  That funny looking pale colored perch near the top right is a new one for us; it’s the Nu Perch sold by the Parrot Wizard store.  I’m always happy to see perches being made with stainless steel hardware so I thought I’d give this one a try as well.  It’s interesting in that I assume it is made of a uniform dowel, but they actually cut it and shape it so that it is no longer uniform and is quite varied in shape and diameter.  The result is a very nice looking perch that appears to be very comfortable and healthy for our parrots.  Lola really likes hers so far, except that she has already taken a big chunk out of the end.  Down below you’ll see a sandblasted manzanita corner perch (flanking a third food/water bowl), as well as a Manu mineral perch.

another cool foraging perch

In the center back of the cage you’ll notice another awesome foraging perch, this one also from Things for Wings.  I love this one: it’s also a platform, but it has lots of chunky willow bark on the bottom side for stripping, and there are several pod cups hanging below for more opportunities to hide treats!  You’ve probably noticed by now a recurring theme in my cage setups– a multitude of places in which to hide treats.  I love having dozens of different foraging opportunities for Lola because it keeps her busy.  She will go around and check all of these hiding spots, multiple times a day, because she never knows where she might find something.  This is such a great thing to do to keep your parrot active  and stimulated, even while in the cage, especially if you work all day or if you have a perch potato.  Encouraging Lola to forage is of the utmost importance to me for her physical and mental health.

a homemade swing

Finally, you probably noticed this awesome swing front and center.  It’s homemade!  Well, sort of.  The very cool, refillable stainless steel base is made by Scooter Z, an awesome chunky willow wood perch from Things for Wings, and fantastic pine wood pieces and cork-stuffed blocks from Mother Pluckin’ Bird Toys.  Actually, my sister very kindly made this for Lola.  She loves it and has been very busy chipping away at the wood pieces!

Other things included… there’s an awesome grapevines wood perch on the front door that Lola loves to perch on, as well as several toys from Things for Wings, I Got a Woody, Oliver’s Garden, Parrot’s Treasure, and more.  You can be sure that the uglier ones are homemade by me.  I have actually changed and added a few since posting these photos so there is a bit more variety now.  I am also getting some new Avian Stainless toys so I am very excited about that!

So that’s how Lola’s cage is now, but it never stays in one iteration for too long.  Just as how the seasons change in the wild, I like to change her cage often and keep her guessing.  I change out toys weekly and perches every so often, and do a full cage restructuring every 2-4 months.  🙂  Hope this helps you set up your cages in an enriching and stimulating way as well!

Woodies for Every Bird!

December 19, 2013 § 2 Comments

The birds got a wonderful package in the mail the other day!  Lola and Sabrina’s goodies from the I Got a Woody sale on Cyber Monday arrived, and they are going to be very, very pleased.  We even snuck in some gifts to bring to Karat, my mom’s Hahn’s, when we visit for Christmas.  I think she’ll be quite happy too… even though she hates me, hah.

sabrina’s set

Sabrina has been loving their toys so far, so I decided to try some new ones for her.  On the left is the Neverland, which combines shredders with ultra thin, 1/16″ pine wood!  I can’t believe how thin they got it– it’s whisper-thin, almost like a crispy wafer.  Normally, I steer clear of pine for Sabrina, but this might be something she can actually chip away at.  To the right of that is the Jungle, which combines balsa slats with shredders, turned cork, and natural cork bark sandwiched in between, and then some fun move-able beads.  The tower-like toy is a miniature sized Wee Willy Winky, customized with some cork.  Below that, there’s a custom version of the Lucky Star, which features all of Sabrina’s favorites: a big hunk of balsa, a chunk of natural cork bark, and some corks at the end as well.  Finally, on the right, there’s the Sprite, which has cute balsa blocks and tiny vine parts.  These should keep her busy for a good long while!

lola’s new toys

close-up of the customized woodland fairy

Lola also got some awesome toys.  On the left is a customized Woodland Fairy, with a close-up above.  This is a super cool toy that actually uses a big sheet of birch bark as its base!  Normally it comes with shredders, but since Lola’s isn’t a big fan, I asked for it to be customized with some chunky cork bark instead.  It is finished with natural wood rounds.

a BIG pine blast!

In the middle of the “group” photo is a BIG, BIG toy: a pine version of the balsa blast!  I didn’t realize how big it was going to be.  I have a feeling this base will stand for a while and I will be able to use and reuse it quite a bit.  Attached to the solid pine wood base (stuffed with corks on the ends) are lots of pine slats with cork sandwiched in between, and finished with crinkly paper.  I think this one might actually last Lola a while!

a basswood tightrope

The last of the big toys is a Tightrope, made of awesome basswood and corks, and lots of crinkle paper.  I love that this toy can be hung sideways as well as it has loops at both ends.  Finally, Lola got a bunch of her favorite foot toys– the Hidden Treasure– and Leslie and Dawn were nice enough to send two free foot toys for her as well.

gifts for karat

As for Karat, she might be getting the coolest toys of them all!  She has an awesome, custom-made half moon perch made for her with her name on it, and along the left, front, and right sides, there are two embedded hardwood beads and a little cork sticking out.  On the right is a Great Balsa Fire, which I think she will have a blast with.

We’re so happy with our latest order and can’t wait to bring our gifts to Karat for the holidays.  I am sure everything will be a big, big hit as usual.  The quality of these toys is very high and they are so nice to accommodate our many special and custom requests for natural-this or substitute-that.  Thank you to I Got a Woody! 🙂

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