Friday, August 27, 2010

Hummingbird feeders run the gamut from simple and effective to works of art that match their feathered customers with their beauty, detail and color. Blown-glass hummingbird feeders are favored styles, with their bright, sparkling color and soft, curving lines.

These feeders are the synthesis of style and function. Parasol is a leading designer and manufacturer of glass hummingbird feeders. Their styles are among the most beautiful in the industry. Known for vintage style and delicate details, these hummingbird feeders can dress up any backyard or garden.

Many feature red crystal droplets that dangle from the feeder to attract hummers. You can create a breathtaking centerpiece in your garden by hanging one of Parasol's hummingbird chandeliers, or plant a unique version of a standard flower garden with their stake-mounted "blossoms."

History of hummingbird feeders

No one knows for certain how long people have been trying to attract hummingbirds to their gardens. Perhaps for as long as mankind has had an appreciation for beauty. The hummingbird has definitely been around for a long while. Fossilized humming bird remains recently found in Germany date back 30 million years! Today, hummingbirds only exist in the new world. With their lightning speed and jewel like iridescent feathers they have always captured man’s imagination. One of the mysterious geoglyphs, (huge pictures etched into the silt on the Nazca Plain of Peru), is a hummingbird. So vast that it is only visible from the air, this hummingbird dates back to 200BC -600AD and is surely the world’s largest hummingbird.

The first commercial hummingbird feeder was introduced in 1950 by the Audubon Novelty Company of Medina, New York. It was a glass tube type of feeder and immediately became popular in the U.S. It was designed by Laurence J. Webster of Boston, as a gift for his wife, who had read an article in a 1928 edition of The National Geographic Magazine. The story mentioned that it was possible to feed hummingbirds from a small glass bottle. Webster designed a feeder and had it produced by a glassblower at MIT. The August, 1947 edition of National Geographic Magazine featured an article by Harold Edgerton who, using his newly invented strobe flash, photographed hummingbirds at Webster’s feeder. The rest, as they say, is history. Considering Webster’s success, men should listen more closely to their wives!

Modern hummingbird feeders

During the 50 plus years that have followed the introduction of that first feeder, many styles and designs have come and gone. Today, feeders are usually made of ceramic, glass, plastic, or a combination of these materials. For the most part, they are divided into two types, bowl feeders and bottle feeders.

Here are some important considerations when selecting a hummingbird feeder;

  • Color is important. Red is the color of choice. Most of the flowers that are the hummingbird’s natural source of nectar are red, pink, or coral colored.

  • Select a feeder that offers the hummingbird a perch. While hummingbirds normally hover in front of a flower during feeding, they much prefer to rest as they feed. While they stay at an individual flower for mere seconds, gathering the little nectar that is there, they will stay at the feeder until they have drunk their fill. Treat them to a sit-down meal.

  • A feeder with a bottle reservoir protects the nectar from bacterial infection, contamination from insects and spoilage. This is important to protect the hummingbird’s health.

  • Select a feeder that is easy to disassemble, clean and refill. Maintaining a supply of fresh, clean nectar is vitally important to the well being of your hummingbirds.

  • Choose a feeder that has an ant moat, or similar device to keep insects from contaminating the nectar in your feeder.

  • Fancy glass and ceramic feeders are attractive, but due to their design they are difficult to clean and tend to drip, which attracts bees, ants and wasps. These insects can become trapped in the feeder, contaminating the nectar.

  • The National Audubon Society recommends cleaning your feeder once a week. To clean your feeder use ¼ cup of white vinegar to 1 cup of water. After cleaning, rinse the feeder 3 times with fresh water.

Placement of your Feeder

Where you hang your feeder is almost as important as which feeder you choose. Here are some tips about hummingbird feeder placement.

  • Put your feeder where it will be noticed by the hummingbirds and will be easily accessible to them. Do not be concerned if the birds don’t show up immediately. Hummingbirds are extremely inquisitive. They will find it.

  • If possible, do not put your feeder close to your window. They may injure themselves by flying into the glass. If you have no other option, place pictures, or decals, of larger birds on your window to prevent the hummingbirds from getting too close.

  • Definitely place your feeder where you can see it. The antics of these tiny miracles of nature are better than anything you will see on cable TV – unless you are watching a show about hummingbirds.

  • If you replace your old feeder with a new one leave the old one hanging empty next to the new feeder for a while, until the hummingbirds recognize it as a new source of food.

Humming Bird Feeders …

7 Important Dos and Don’ts about Hummingbird Food

As I mentioned before, the nectar in your feeder is intended to be a supplement to the hummingbird’s diet. It provides the birds with a much needed fuel stop. They will come to trust your feeder as a safe place to visit during their nonstop search for food. There are a few things you should know before you fill your feeder.

Recipe for hummingbird nectar

1 cup white, granulated sugar,

4 cups, fresh, hot water. Tap water is fine (boiling is not necessary).

Stir in the sugar until it has completely dissolved. Let the mixture cool before using.

NOTE: Extra mixture can be kept, refrigerated, for a period of time.

  • Do not use commercially prepared hummingbird liquids sold as “Hummingbird nectar”, or “Hummingbird food”. They contain preservatives that may actually prove harmful to the birds. A mixture you can make in less than a minute, in your own kitchen, will be better, safer, and less expensive.

  • Do not add food color to your mixture. It can be harmful to the birds. Let the feeder itself provide the color.

  • Do not use brown sugar, confectioner’s sugar, raw sugar, or turbinado sugar to make your syrup. Confectioner’s sugar contains corn starch that can cause the syrup to ferment quickly. Brown sugar and raw sugars contain iron and can prove deadly to hummingbirds over a period of time.

  • Do not use honey to prepare your mixture. Although honey is made by bees, from nectar gathered from flowers, the sugar it contains is not as palatable to hummingbirds as plain granulated sugar. Additionally, honey promotes the growth of microorganisms that can be dangerous to your hummingbirds.

  • Do make your own “hummingbird food”. Let your children, or grandchildren help you. It can be an experience they will treasure throughout their lives.

  • Do use only white, granulated sugar in your mixture. The birds will thank you for it.

  • Do clean your feeder and change the mixture frequently, even if there is still some nectar left. This will keep your birds healthy and happy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lotus, Love Beauty

When we went to Our first Gift Show more than a Year and a Half ago, there were many things that we wanted to carry in Passiflora. It would have been wonderful to have the Space to fit all of the things that we Love under one roof. Someday!

Love, Lotus Beauty was one of those Products we just had to have! Unfortunately, when we got Home and sorted through the hundreds of Catalogs that we had collected, we had to make some tough choices. It was sad for us to have to wait for
some of the things that we loved!

It only got more difficult the second and third show because in order to get something new, we had to let go of some of the things that had gotten us to where we are and that we had grown attached to.

Well, finally we have made room for a line that we adore and that we think has been missing from our shop. You will be hooked on this amazing product and the Love and Purpose behind it. It's not very often that we make a purchase that makes us feel good and look beautiful and yet, is dedicated to celebrating inner peace and beauty with a desire to initiate positive change in the world.

Lotus, Love Beauty is a collection of natural herbal and floral beauty bars, bath salts, bath oils, body lotions and candles. The finest ingredients from around the world have been united to accentuate inner beauty through aromatherapy and traditional ayurvedic & yogic philosophies.

All of their products are handmade in small batches, using the most pure and exotic oils, herbs, botanicals and spices. Inspired by the motherland of the Holy Cow, our products are 100% vegan and never tested on animals.

Lotus, Love Beauty is brought to you by The Shanti Project, a grassroots cooperative dedicated to celebrating inner peace and beauty with a desire to initiate positive change in the world. A portion of each Lotus Love Beauty product sold supports The Shanti Project.

Love, Lotus Beauty gives back to the global community by sharing a portion of the profits and offering their customers the opportunity to feel good about their purchase. By being more collectively conscious: aware of our
thoughts, words, actions and energies—we can make a difference. So go ahead... accentuate your inner beauty!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Blue Q was the name Mitch and Seth made up for their lighting company in 1988. Yep. Lighting. Seth says, "We were headed to the annual world's largest lighting show in Milan and we needed business cards." Blue Q was hatched in a few minutes.

We never made lights, we made cardboard cats. So....that's it! "Blue Q" means nothing! Turned out to be a good thing considering all the products we have made and sold over the years.

Everything is made very Carefully and thoughtfully. And with the VERY BEST QUALITY

(you'll notice that sentiment is on everything we make). Look, we all know that there is an unethical way to manufacture a water bottle, to sew a bag. We don't do that. We couldn't. We have a beautiful and long history with manufacturing our goods the right way.

So if you ever had any questions about our factory standards overseas, environmentally responsible manufacturing, the way we look at employees, labor practices and wages you can rest assured that it is the Very Best Quality. We don't compromise when manufacturing something that is affordable and desirable. We just want you to be happy.

We do everything for you.



The iconic sign, redesigned by Aesthetic Apparatus. 9.5"w x 7.25"h. 95% recycled post consumer material has a crushed, wrinkled look when sewn into Zipper Pouches. This is normal for the high recycled content. We love the earth.

Silkscreened eye-candy made possible only by the very good gentlemen of Aesthetic Apparatus. Made of 95% post consumer recycled material. 27.5" w x 13.75" h.

From the magical winged archives of Roy Fox. Made with 95% post consumer recycled material, a roomy exterior pocket and shoulder length straps

You are so toasted. Art by 64 Colors. 9.5"w x 7.25"h. 95% recycled post consumer material has a crushed, wrinkled look when sewn. It's all normal for the high recycled content. Feels good to be so good.

Why use that fake evil corporate soap "stuff" when our real handmade olive oil soap feels so good? Literally bursting with freshness, ultra moisturizing and mild, scented with real essential oils the way Mother Nature intended. Featuring cold pressed olive oil, wild and organic herbs, only safe natural ingredients and sustainable business practices ... we make it easy to be clean & green!

Passionflower relieves anxiety as it calms frayed nerves, while organic oat flour soothes and softens your skin. A relaxing ylang ylang essential oil blend completes the spell.

Wild Weeds Soap is filled with soothing cucumber essential oil, organic aloe vera, French green clay, and skin-loving wild chickweed & plantain. . . used for centuries to treat all sorts of skin problems. The fresh green scent is light and uplifting. Available in a body balm too!

Scented with a fir needle essential oil blend and scattered with ground cedarwood, this scrubby textured bar is sure to please the outdoor lover with its fresh forest scent. Some consider this a guy soap, but plenty of women love it too!

Exfoliating wild mesquite bean meal and skin soothing oatmeal enrich this scrubby tan bar scented with a warm and earthy patchouli essential oil blend.

Our mesquite beans are sustainably harvested in rural areas of Mexico where economic options are few, pairing the conservation of native mesquite woodlands with economic prosperity for the locals.

Experience you can trust.

This is a wild soap bar.

We're absolutely positive you'll love our natural soap!!!