Hummingbird Hospitality: 6 tips and 5 gifts

hummingbird art

Hummingbirds are such amazing creatures. I love watching them and have made several designs honoring these magical little guys including a wall clock, alarm clock, set of magnets, nightlight and magnetic bookmark.
So tiny, the smallest hummingbirds can weigh in at less than the weight of a penny, full-grown. Though small and delicate, they are also incomprehensibly fast and vigorous and can amazingly migrate hundreds of miles in windy conditions, all while subsisting on a diet of flower nectar and gnats.
Many people like to attract these brightly-feathered friends by hanging a backyard hummingbird feeder. I just put one out last week and am so thrilled to watch them flutter in to feed. I did some research afterwards and to my surprise, learned that hummingbirds rely on these feeders in areas or times of year when blossoms are scarce. So they are not only for our enjoyment, they keep them alive. Hummingbirds can live many years without our help, but I had no idea that they often rely on the charity of us bird-watching humans.
Sadly, feeders can also kill them. The wrong ratio of sugar to water, or a dirty feeder can be deadly to hummingbird.

Here are some tips I found on how to safely feed and care for hummingbirds in your backyard habitat:

1. Use the secret recipe for hummingbird nectar: Boil water to kill any fungus or bacteria that could be harmful to the birds. Measure 4 parts post-boil, and add 1 part sugar-just enough to keep them coming back. The secret is that this is the only recipe. (Too sweet can damage their liver!)

2. Hang feeders in a safe place: in the shade, spaced from window panes, not accessible to cats or other predators.

3. Keep it natural! Commercial hummingbird feed, or additives like red dye are unnecessary for hummingbirds and may not be healthy for them. Keep it simple with the sugar water recipe above, which is close to the nectar substance they get from flowers in the wild.

4. Keep it clean! Hummingbird feeders can host a fungus that is deadly to these winged beauties. Wash the feeder thoroughly in hot water every couple days, and if it ever looks funky, wash it out immediately.

5. Feed hummingbirds gourmet wild foods! If you want to go beyond the sugar water feeder, flower and seed mixes for hummingbirds can be purchased at a garden or feed store, and spoiled fruit set out in a bucket will attract fruit flies which make a very nutritious food for hummingbird babies. Who knew!

6. Never mess with a nest of baby hummingbirds. While the mothers may be gone for long periods, and back so quickly you don’t see her, the babies have the best chance of survival without human interference. Never attempt to remove a baby from a hummingbird nest at any time. They are extremely delicate (as small as honeybees) and can lose their legs if pulled from their perch.

Enjoy your visits from hummingbirds, but always leave them in their natural environment undisturbed. If you want to bring them in your home, choose one of my hummingbird gifts, created from my original paintings, appropriate for all indoor environments.

1. Battery-powered alarm clock  great for travel! This tiny 2″ alarm clock is made from a print of my painting of this nectar-seeking hummingbird in a flower patch. The yellow and purple flower counts off seconds, appearing to hover magically over the clock face. Such a moment, when observed in your yard is quickly fleeting, but here it is appropriately captured in time. Wake up to this beauty every morning.
hummingbird alarm clock

2. Glass gem magnets – in a reusable gift tin. Would you like to see hummingbirds get even tinier? These tiny magnets are super strong. They are perfect for sticking notes and pictures on your fridge and will not fall down like many magnets do. They are made from micro prints of my hummingbird paintings encased in real glass. A beautiful flock of guests to cheer up your kitchen.
hummingbird fridge magnets

 3. Nightlight – Light up the summer nights with the image of your brilliant garden friends. Our night lights plug into any outlet and bring colorful cheer to the darkness. The nightlight is made from a print of my original hummingbird paintings sandwiched between two pieces of durable acrylic, with an easy on-off switch. These make great decor for a kids’ room or guest room.
hummingbird night light

4. Wall clock- Keep time with one of our whimsical wall clocks. My wall clocks are made from colorful high-quality prints of my original artwork affixed to a durable lightweight backing, and look just like tile. Unlike ceramic, it is light enough to hang on a pushpin and will not shatter if dropped, making it easy to hang on just a pushpin and safe anywhere in your house. bedroom clock hummingbird

5. Amazing magnetic bookmark – Keep your place with this unique bookmark. My hummingbird image sandwiches the page of your book, holding steadfast even if your book is moved, using magnets hidden inside. These bookmarks make an affordable and functional gift for anyone, and can slip right into a birthday or holiday card.  Show your appreciation of reading and make a mark with this artistic memento!

hummingbird bookmark

Unique gifts for Dad $5-$35

It’s not too late to order for father’s day – we ship every order within 24 hours and are rushing our fathers day gifts out by priority mail this week. We’ve got gifts for dads (and other dudes!) at prices you can afford.

Under $35 – Wall Clocks

Our unique wall clocks look exactly like a tile. Even when you open the box, you’ll be sure they are ceramic, but they are so light you can hang them on a pushpin, and they will not crack or break like ceramic. Each clock is made from a print of one of my original paintings.
dadclock photo stripWe have hundreds of designs, traditional to whimsical – all unique. From sports, nature, spirituality, inspirational and more, it shouldn’t be hard to find the right clock for the dad in your life.

baseball wall clock

Our wall clocks have a lifetime warranty on the movement.

crab wall clock

Under $30 – Alarm clocks

Our alarm clocks’ lightweight, durable, 2-inch square design means you can take them most anywhere, so they are great for home or for travel.


The round clock face features original colorful art by artist Pam Corwin (that’s me!) The second hand is a small image that appears to magically float around the clock face (see the olive above and Mr. Van Gogh’s ear, etc.)

van goghs ear

We have over 70 different alarm clocks, just check out the gallery to see all of our fun themes. Pictured here: Happy hour and Van Gogh alarm clocks.

Under $15 – Glass gem magnets

soccer glass magnets

My handmade glass gem magnets are durable and super strong. Perfect for a proud papa to display pictures and art from kids or grandkids.

happy hour magnets
Magnets are tiny reproductions of my artwork under glass, and are handmade in our Olympia, Washington studio.

basketball magnets

These tiny powerful magnets come in more than 65 fun themes (Pictured here: soccer, basketball, happy hour, tattoo).

tattoo glass gem magnets
Sold in sets of 7 in a metal gift tin, and an affordable gift at only $12.50 a set!

Under $5 – Cool magnetic bookmarks 

turtle bookmarkMy bookmarks are prints of my watercolors reproduced on quality card stock. The magnets allow them to clip onto your page without slippage. You can slip one into your Father’s Day card as a little bonus gift,

7 creative end-of-year gift ideas for teacher

It’s the end of the school year, a great time to show appreciation for the people who have made your kids’ year of learning great.
Don’t fall victim to giving a boring or cliche gift! Give something personal, useful, and memorable from Paper Scissors Rock. My affordable, functional gift items are personalized with hundreds of designs made from my original art work, and they are great for teachers! Here are a few ideas. Check out my galleries for more inspiration!

1. Teacher appreciation wall clock: Celebrate all teachers with this colorful wall clock made from a print of one of my original paintings. This clock looks just like a beautiful tile but it is actually on a lightweight foam board, so it is durable, safe for the classroom, and easy to hang with nothing but a pushpinteacher wall clock

2. Reach for the Stars wall clock. Like all Paper Scissors Rock clocks, this one is made from a print of one of my original watercolor paintings. Give this to a teacher who has been a great inspiration or encouragement. This unique art clock makes great classroom decor.reach for the stars wall clock

3. Music lovers wall clock. A great gift for a band or music teacher!

whimsical music notes wall clock

4. Van Gogh’s ear alarm clock. This durable, lightweight alarm clock will tickle the wit of an art or history teacher. Van Gogh’s looks on as his left ear magically floats around the clockface, counting the seconds.
van goghs ear

5. Don’t forget a gift for coach! I have a number of sports designs in magnets, wall clocks and alarm clocks. Look for baseball, soccer, basketball and football designs in the galleries.
soccer glass magnets

7. Teacher glass gem magnets. These super-strong magnets look stylie as they display student work, pictures, or memos from teacher. Don’t let teach start next year unprepared with these.

teacher glass gem magnets

 

Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home

Last weekend I was walking through the garden center outside of the grocery store looking for flowers, and saw a basket full of clear plastic tubs. Curious, I walked over to see what they were and was surprised to find that they were filled with ladybugs. Now, I know ladybugs are supposed to be lucky. They are also said to bring prosperity. But none of that has anything to do what with why I did what I did.

I could blame it on the fact that I was pretty depressed. My cat had just died and the flowers I was shopping for were to plant on her grave. But for whatever reason, seeing 1500 beautiful little ladybugs trapped in each of those plastic tubs made me really sad.
decorative ladybug refrigerator magnets in tinThese ladybug magnets  I sell in metal gift tins remind me of my little friends in captivity….
I stood there for a while and looked at them, then went inside the store and did the rest of my shopping. But I could not stop thinking about those little ladybugs. When I finished getting my groceries, I found myself back outside, standing at that basket. At $10 a tub I couldn’t ‘save’ them all, but I felt compelled to set at least some of them free.
ladybug travel alarm clock
I know, I know. They were all  meant to be purchased and assuming they were, would be set free eventually. But what if there weren’t? What if they died in those tubs? And how miserable must they be all heaped in there on top of each other? Those were my sad silly thoughts at the time. Inwardly was laughing at myself. I couldn’t really believe I was doing it… so when the woman at the register asked what I was going to do with the ladybugs I simply mumbled “Um…Well….they’re good for aphids.” Not that I have any aphids. Heck, I don’t even have a garden.
ladybug nightlight
When I got home I took the tub outside put it on the deck railing next to Ramona’s new grave, and opened it. I kind of hoped a huge cloud of ladybugs would rise in the air like a tiny flock of red birds and fly off into the blue sky. But that’s not what happened at all. They just gradually begin to crawl over the edge of the container and onto the deck and explore. And eventually I got impatient and poured about half of them out into the grass.

So yeah, it was pretty anticlimactic, but it still felt good. I keep hoping I’ll see some of them around but they seem to be long gone. But hey, ladybugs – if you do bring prosperity – don’t forget me, okay?

Best Olympia art event: Procession of the Species

 

Earth Day is not over where I live. In fact, we are just warming up.
My favorite event here in Olympia, Washington is the annual Procession of the Species, a giant, makeshift artistic homage to the flora, fauna, and natural elements of our world. procession of the species
Months before the week of Earth Day, a warehouse space opens downtown to begin construction for the parade. Individuals, classrooms, girl scout troops, faith communities…basically everyone in town crowds into the warehouse to get involved. And so begins the creative process – costume making workshops, choreographing dance routines and marching bands, and constructing costumes.
Oh the costume construction! They range from simple painted cereal box animal masks to the elaborate large-scale segmented paper mache creatures that serve in lieu of floats as the parade’s main attractions. Since nothing motorized is allowed, the giant creatures are made with flexible parts and worn by groups of people–15′ elephants, dinosaurs, dragons, and even giant insects have romped through the Olympia streets in 20 years of “The Procession” tradition.

zebras olympia

I usually attend the Procession as a spectator. People expect me to be in the parade  because I’m a working artist, and I creates a lot of animal art (I have over a hundred designs of wall clocks, alarm clocks, night lights, cards, and magnets featuring critters), but I so look forward to witnessing the parade every year that I don’t mind sitting at the sidelines. And the sense of community and joy in the air when the whole town comes out to play is something I just love to be a part of.
If you happen to be in the Olympia, Washington area, do not miss the revelry!
This is an event to remind us that our home is a place teeming with precious creatures, and we are responsible to all of them to keep the earth livable and beautiful.
procession

How I started paying it forward

Last week for April Fool’s Day I shared a”prank it forward” video where a waitress was given the best shift of her life by friends and coworkers, and I asked if anyone has done a “pay it forward” type prank.
I have a regular pay it forward tradition. It started right after September 11th, 2001.  
Just four days after 9/ll, I decided to do something different at my Pike Place Market booth in Seattle by giving my clocks away that Saturday. At first I didn’t think I could even show up at the Market so soon but I couldn’t imagine staying home alone any longer, filled with the immense grief we all felt that week. I needed to go be with my friends and fellow artists even if there was no one shopping. Then on the 60 mile drive to work it occurred to me that in giving a gift, I could do something positive both for myself and for others. 
heart4web
The market felt strange that day. People were there, walking around as usual, but the air was so full of sadness. When someone approached my table, I waited and when they picked something out I would bag it up. Then when they reached for their wallet and I’d simply smile and say “You can put that away. I’m not taking any money today”
peace dove travel alarm clock
What happened was astounding.  At first people couldn’t understand what I was offering. All of them refused the offer at first. But when I said “I think we all just need to be kind to each other right now.” without exception, every one of them burst into tears. Then I asked them each if they would do something nice for someone else in return. People really broke down at that point. Do you remember how raw our emotions were at time? How grief stricken and vulnerable we all felt?  I cried, my artist neighbors set up on either side of me cried. Other artists in the market passed the word of what I was doing and a small crowd of them gathered in my booth to watch every time a customer approached. Several customers came back later and reported their pay-it-forward deeds with pride. One proud father came back later to tell me that his 5 year old gave all of her allowance money to a homeless person after they left my booth.
Within a few days word of this story made it’s way onto the Internet and travelled around the country. A man from Georgia actually looked up my website and called me at my studio in Olympia, Washington, just to see if I was for real.
This was such a rewarding experience that now every day that I work at my booth I give away one clock. I never know how it will unfold or who I will give the gift to. It might be a little kid who clearly really wants one but his Mom says no, it might be a woman who falls in love with a certain design but just can’t afford it or seem to justify spending her money on it. Once it was a woman who got choked up when she saw my ‘Reach for the Stars’ clock, because her recently deceased mother used to say that to her all the time. Sometimes it’s just a traveler on a tight budget or someone who makes me laugh.
reach for the stars wall clock
Each day I wait for a feeling. It’s always a strong pull that sweeps over me in the moment, a sense that this person is the right person. Generally, I continue to talk to them as I nonchalantly pull the clock they are admiring from my back stock and put it in a bag. Then I might ask when their birthday is and when they tell me I say “Well, since I’m not going to see you on your birthday, I’d like to give you a gift now” and I hand them the bag.  
This is always met with a look of bewilderment. They peer in the bag, they say “what?” they reach for their wallet.  They often refuse to accept it at first, but I always insist, telling them I give something away every day and I wait until the right person comes along and “Today it’s you.”. After they thank me and express their disbelief, I follow it by adding “There is one thing I’ll ask you to do in return, And that’s to do something kind for someone else, preferably a stranger”  That’s when they almost always start to cry.  And I find on a day when I am selling very little, when business is slow, when I’m worried about paying my bills – it’s the best thing I can do. Although I may reduce my profits even more, I’ve done something way better because it always makes me feel full and alive – and reminds me that the best things in life have nothing to do with money.
12things4web

Spring Sale- 30% off everything-2 days left!

winwhatyoulovesale

Spring Special
30% OFF Everything!
two more days only!
 
Get 30% OFF 
on any purchase over $12
We’ve added some great new designs including our brand new
Day of the Dead Clock.
dia de los muertos clock
   Use Discount code SPRING30
Offer Expires Sunday 4/6/14 11:59pm

“The Best Shift Ever” April Fool’s positive prank

April Fool’s Day can bring all kinds of pranks- mean pranks, slapstick pranks, elaborate pranks and witty pranks. But THIS! This video is an inspiring story about an ordinary good person, Chelsea, a waitress at the Sprint St. Smoke House, and the gifts that her community arranged for her in the form of a positive ‘prank’. Her friends and coworkers worked with a television show to plot ‘The Best Shift Ever’ for her.

She receives amazing tips from customer after customer, and although she’s amazed, doesn’t seem to suspect a thing.

1. At 1:31- $1000 cash tip.
2. At 2:14- Vacation to Hawaii as a tip
3. 3:20- Her dream job offer!
4. 4:30- A new car to replace her junker!
5. 5:38- A visit from her old friend. Here is where the tears start to flow!
What an amazing woman and heartwarming story.

12 Things money clock

Have you ever done a “positive prank”? Or received one?

 

Actress Patty Duke visits the Craftspeople at Pike Place Market

Having grown up watching her TV show, when I booked Patty Duke to ring the bell at the market I was thrilled. Like many of us, I have seen The Miracle Worker, for which she won an Oscar, many times. And of course, I’ve seen her in many other films and TV shows over the years. But as fun as I imagined the day might be, I never dreamed it could be as special as it really was.

Patty Duke (whose real name is Anna) is still absolutely beautiful, and she and her husband Mike are two of the most genuine, loving, fun people you’ll ever meet. The couple met when Anna was filming A Time to Triumph, the true story of a woman helicopter pilot. Mike, who was a drill sergeant at the time, was hired as a consultant to teach her how to salute, march, etc. and in the process they fell in love. They have been married for 28 years, and they both exude a combination of warmth, humor and kindness that is rare to find.

Patty at roll call, wearing the fabulous hat given to her by Goldie of Lidwear

Patty at roll call, wearing the fabulous hat given to her by Goldie of Lidwear

What not everyone knows about Anna is that while we were all at home happily watching her on TV and in movies, she was enduring a difficult & traumatic childhood. And on top of all the trauma she experienced in her personal life, in 1982 she was also diagnosed as bi-polar. She has since become a passionate advocate, author, speaker and educator on mental health issues. (My brother is a psychiatrist and when he heard I’d be meeting Anna, he called to make sure I know what an amazing woman she is. He told me that he feels deeply indebted to her on behalf of his patients, and what a difference her work and voice has made for so many.)
As I took Mike and Anna on a tour of the market, I watched with admiration as Anna looked into the eyes of every person who approached her, and greeted them as if they were already a friend – whether a fan of her TV Show, movies, or books, or someone who has dealt with mental illness in their own life and knew of her advocacy work. She gave out hugs that clearly came from her heart, and her sparkly personality and openness left each person she met glowing.

Actress Patty Duke Pike Market SeattlePatty Duke by Pam CorwinPatty Duke with Paper Scissors Rock and Pike  Place Market artists

At one point, I told Anna & Mike about a dear friend at the market who is bi-polar had hoped to meet her but couldn’t make it that day. Her husband died recently and our community is worried about her.  Anna listened with clear concern and both she and Mike simply said “Call her.” So I dialed the phone and Anna took it and walked off to give her support and sage words of advice in private. Our friend was blown away by the kindness and generosity of this amazing woman.

After Anna rang the bell, a small group of us went out to breakfast. What a lovely time it was! We were joined by Lori Ness, of Northwest Prime Radio (who is the person who put me in touch with Anna), Mary Kay Sherwood of Sherwood Silkscreen, and Kat Allen of Symbols in Art.

Mike made me laugh all morning.

Mike made me laugh all morning.

After breakfast so many people wanted to give Anna and Mike gifts and thank them for coming that it took us two hours to get through the market.

Patty Duke and artists have breakfast

Mel Dofredo of Villanueva Arts is still talking about the wonderful, heartfelt conversation he had with Anna.

Mel Dofredo of Villanueva Arts is still talking about the wonderful, heartfelt conversation he had with Anna.

screen print art at Pike Market with Patty Duke

Sarah Porter of Saragrapics

Seattle textile artist and Patty Duke

Sheila Mead of Gypsy Wings Textiles  shared her work with Anna.

I never expected to meet two such down to earth people and make new friends that day. But these two are in my heart (and I hope my life) forever.

If you want to know more about Anna’s journey, I recommend you read her best seller, Call Me Anna. If if you or anyone you love lives with bipolar disorder, I  also highly recommend her second book, Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic Depressive Illness.

Anna and Mike will be at the Hollywood autograph show the 12th and 13th of April, in LA. http://www.hollywoodshow.com/main.php

Anna will be speaking in Kadima, Michigan on Thursday, May 8th

Anna will be attending a screening of The Miracle Worker in Omaha, Nebraska on May 23

Duluth Superior Film Festival, May 28th to the 31st

And she will be speaking in Connecticut on June 6th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near Middletown, CT

Follow Anna on Facebook 

New York Times Bestselling Author Garth Stein at Pike Place Market

On March 1st I was lucky enough to host Garth Stein the author of The Art of Racing in the Rain when he rang the bell to start our day at Pike Place Market, in Seattle.

If you haven’t read The Art of Racing in the Rain, you’re missing out. It’s a fabulous book, and was a New York Times bestseller for 156 weeks.  The story is told from a dog’s point of view. You‘ll fall in love with Enzo, who believes in the Mongolian legend that a dog who is prepared will be reincarnated in his next life as a human.

garth stein at pike place

Before he rang the bell, Garth told us all a story about his sister who once sold her art at the market.  On days when business was slow, she’d make origami cranes out of dollar bills and put them on her table on sale for $1.00 each. One day two women paused to look at them, shook their heads, declared them an overpriced rip-off and walked away. That got a huge laugh from the crowd.

 Garth Stein and artists gift shopping

Garth is a fascinating person. He was a race car driver himself and co-produced an Academy Award winning short film, The Lunch Date. And he is as wonderful a human being as you’d expect after reading his book. Kristin Schwartz of Silver Cherry jewelry greeted him with me, and after we showed him the underbelly of the market and told him a couple of legendary market stories Kristen showed him around the Market and took him to our famed mini-donut stand for a treat.

She then escorted him to meet the many market fans who had brought books for him to sign and wanted to gift him with their art.

garth stein art of racing the rain

Garth has a new book coming out. A Sudden Light, will be published on
September 30, 2014. And great news for kids: Garth’s children’s picture book, Enzo Races in the Rain, will be published in November of this year.

Garth is also one of the founders of Seattle7Writers, a collective of Pacific Northwest authors creating connections between writers, readers, librarians and booksellers to foster and support a passion for the written word. They are hosting a Book Club Brunch at Mount Baker Community Center on June 21, 2014.  Keynote speaker is Daniel James Brown (The Boys in the Boat).  See www.Seattle7Writers.org/events for information.

Insert Movie (on dropbox) here

Follow Garth on Facebook and Twitter 

To be sure you get all of Garth’s news sign up for his newsletter.