Preview of Dog Breed Salt and Pepper Shakers

I made a little video of one of my new salt and pepper shakers – this one features a blue merle Australian Shepherd.  I am just beginning to make these so do not have many blanks on hand, but I do have a couple sets for anyone interested in having their favorite breed on a pair.   The price for a pair is $42.   Contact me if you’re interested.

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April’s Contest Winner

I began a monthly drawing from my list of newsletter subscribers in April, and I’m very happy to announce that Sharon P. was last month’s winner!  Sharon will receive her choice of either a dog breed wine stopper or ring dish/dipping bowl decorated in the dog of her choice.  Congratulations Sharon!!

If you would like to take part in my contest, all you need to do is be a newsletter subscriber and you can sign up here.  The contest details are on shepherds-grove.com

10 Adorable Pictures of Dogs and Bunnies

Easter is on its way and that got me thinking about bunnies, and how if my German Shepherd, Dante, and the Easter Bunny ever met up in our backyard, the Easter Bunny might never come back.   But here are some dogs that get along beautifully with bunnies, as I suspect Dante would if properly introduced.

1.  Corgi and Bunny

Corgi and Bunny

Source: Nadya Kulagina Photography 500px.com

2. Pomeranian and Bunny

Pomeranian and Bunny

Souce: Instagram @chiara.nalon

3.  Golden Retriever and Bunny

Source:  Dailybunny.org

4.  Shiba Inu and Bunny Instagram

Shiba Inu and Rabbit

Source: Instagram @microcoffeesafari

5. Sheltie and Bunny

Sheltie-and-Rabbit

Source: Daan Franken, Flickr

6. German Shepherd with Bunnies

German Shepherd and Bunnies

Source: forums.rabbitrehome.org.uk

7.  Australian Shepherd and Bunny

Australian Shepherd and Rabbit

Source: Instagram @happy_aussie

8.  Boston Terrier and Bunny Litter

9.  Saint Bernard and Bunny

Saint Bernard and Bunny

Source: Warren Photographic

10. Bull Dog and Bunny

Bulldong and Bunny

Source: Instagram @francis_langlais

I hope you’ve enjoyed the cuteness.  Have a great day!

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p.s.  If you’d like to sign up to receive my monthly newsletter, I invite you to head over to shepherds-grove.com and enter your information in the pop-up window.  My newsletter will inform you about new designs, products, and promotions, and you’ll automatically be entered into my monthly Newsletter Contest For Dog Lovers, just by being on my email list!

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Shiba Inu – Dog Of The Month

Shiba Inu - Dog of the Month at Shepherds Grove

I chose the Shiba Inu for my Dog of the Month because it’s just so “foxy” and adorable.  I have a friend who has a Shiba, and I am taken with just how intelligent and dignified her dog is – she’s not one to really frolic or roll over for a belly rub, but she is inquisitive and kind.    As always, when I choose a dog to work on, I get to learn a little more about the breed.

The Shiba Inu is the smallest of the Spitz dog breeds in Japan and is considered the oldest breed, according to the AKC.  They’re agile and compact and have very keen senses, which made them excellent hunting dogs that could easily navigate the steep hills in the mountainous regions of Japan from whence the originated.  The Shiba ancestors that were brought down from the mountains to more populated areas in Japan were courser looking and larger boned than today’s very elegant Shibas.  WWII brought near extinction of the breed and there were three bloodlines remaining.  It is from these bloodlines that the modern Shiba has evolved.

Well, I can’t wait to have Shiba Inu gifts among my dog lover pottery.  I’ll post my finished design when I get it done.

Warmest regards,

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p.s.  Join my email list and you’ll receive a 20% off coupon on your first purchase of handmade dog lover gifts from my website!

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Spring Cleaning Your Dog’s Belongings

German Shepherd Spring Cleaning

Dante’s Thoughts on Spring Cleaning – “Is this really necessary, Mom?”

I’m feeling that urge to clean so it must be Spring Cleaning time.  Funny how the urge only comes around once a year.  Anyhow, we’ve had such a rainy winter and spring (so far) here in Eureka, and Dante’s carried a lot of the yard inside on his paws and legs, even though I wipe him down after every outing.  Time to deep clean some things, and, as I found out by doing a little research, I should be doing some of these things more often.
  1. Dog Bowl.  I do wash Dante’s bowl, but perhaps not as often or as thoroughly as is recommended.  The NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) found dog bowls to be one of the top 10 germiest locations in a house, according to their 2011 study.  I guess I can understand why the a dog’s bowl might be so germ hotbed, but maybe it aids in our overall germ resistance and so isn’t as bad as they make it out to be?  Or maybe I’m just saying that to make myself feel better for not washing Dante’s bowl as well as I should.  Their suggestion is daily sanitizing in the dishwasher or washing by hand using soapy water.  If hand washing the bowls,  you should do a weekly soaking of the bowl in 1:50 mixture of bleach and water for 10 minutes and rinse well.  Hmmm…who knew?
  2. Bedding.  Luckily this is fairly easy, especially if you pick a sunny day.  Bedding can be vacuumed to remove excess hair, or shaken outside.  Thankfully most beds have zip off covers that can be removed and washed – just unzip and toss in your machine.  If you’re really into deep cleaning, use the disinfect cycle on your washing machine.   I put my covers in the dryer on low and remove when they feel just a little damp and then air dry them the rest of the way so there’s no shrinking.  But if it’s a nice sunny day, and you can wait, hang them up and dry them outside.  While the covers are washing and drying (and if it’s sunny) put the pad inserts outside to bathe in the fresh air.  Once everything is completely dry, reassemble and go take a nap on your dog’s bed before he messes it up again.  How often to wash?  Once a month would be ideal to keep them nice and is not too frequent as to make you crazy.
  3. Toys.  Dante’s favorite toys are the soft ones with squeakers – these last 1-3 days before they’ve been disemboweled of stuffing and squeaker so that all that remains are floppy lifeless rags that he likes even more.  There’s not much to wash here, so I eventually just discard them after a few weeks.  But for those of you whose dog’s cherish their stuffies such that they remain intact, these can be washed in your machine in cool water and dried on low heat. You can put them inside a pillow case for washing and drying if you’re worried about the fabric pilling or decorative features falling off.  However, since the toy has probably spent a lot of time in your dog’s mouth, I doubt you have this level of concern, but hey, I thought I’d mention it.  I would suggest using unscented, or at least less soap than you would for your clothing, and no fabric softener, so that your dog doesn’t grab his freshly cleaned toy in his mouth, spit it out, and then give you that “what the heck is this?” look.  As for hard toys, wash in a small amount of dish washing liquid and water, or put through the dishwasher like I always did with my kids chewy toys.  You can also use half water half vinegar and rinse well.  How often?  I suppose you could go nuts and wash weekly,  but really it’s up to you and your tolerance.  It’s just fine if you wash them only they look dirty or when you’re expecting small children in your home who may handle them.  Maybe for you (and me for sure), just every Spring!

In closing, I hope that Spring inspires you, whether or not there’s any cleaning involved!

 

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Dog Lover Gift Giveaway – Win a Free Dog Breed Gift From Shepherds Grove!

Win a dog breed wine stopper or ring dish

Are You On My Newsletter List? If So, You Could Win A Dog Breed Gift From Shepherds Grove!

I really appreciate all of you who have subscribed to my newsletter and wondered what I could do to let you know?  So I decided to have a monthly drawing from my subscriber list and give away one of my handmade dog breed gifts.  I will be choosing a winner at random on April 20th from all of you on my newsletter subscriber list.  If you win, you will receive your choice of either a dog breed wine stopper or dog breed ring (dipping) dish decorated with the dog breed of your choice (from my list of currently available dog breeds).   These are great little gifts that you can choose to keep, gift to a loved one, or donate to your favorite breed charity auction.

All that is required to be entered in the drawing is that your are on my newsletter list by April 20th.  If you are reading this and you are not on my list, you can by going to the Shepherds Grove website. Once there, a pop-up box will magically appear into which you can enter your information.  As an added sign-up bonus, you’ll be rewarded with a 20% off coupon to use toward your first purchase of dog breed gifts from Shepherds Grove.  For more contest details, see my Newsletter Contest For Dog Lovers page.

Tell your dog-lover friends about this so they can sign up!  I will be running the contest into the foreseeable future, so if you don’t win in April, you’ll have other chances to win.  Sign up today and good luck!

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10 Great Pictures of Dogs and Daffodils

I love Daffodils – they’re such a jolly flower.  Before they all disappear, I thought I would pay tribute to them with 10 great pictures of “Dogs and Daffodils”.

1. Newfoundland and Daffodils

 

2. Corgi and Daffodils

One happy dog

 

3. Shelties and Daffodils

 

4. German Shepherd and Daffodils

 

5. Pug and Daffodils

 

6. Greyhound and Daffodils

 

7. Golden Retriever and Daffodils

Source: Reddit/pogiepika

 

8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Daffodils

 

9. Chihuahua and Daffodils

Chihuahua and Daffodils

Source: Instagram @fotografriedje

 

10.  Australian Shepherd and Daffodils

 

Warmest Regards,

 

p.s.  Like to save?  Receive a coupon for 20% off your first order from the Shepherds Grove website. Look for the persistent little pop-up box and sign up!

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Dog Themed Salt & Pepper Shakers In The Works

Dog themed salt and papper shakers in progress

Dog themed salt and pepper shakers in progress.

A couple of weeks ago I received the salt and pepper shaker ceramic molds that I ordered, so I have been working on making them.   A customer actually requested these and I thought it would be great to add dog breed salt and pepper shakers to my dog themed gift line-up.  I’m excited to see them finished.

Every new item that I add requires getting used to the ceramic mold and the resulting shape – they all have their own idiosyncrasies.  The salt and pepper molds were straight forward to use but once the pieces come out of the molds, there were things to deal with that I’d never had to deal with before.  Holes need to be made on the tops for the salt and pepper to shake out of, and then the bottoms need to be plugged with a stopper, luckily I’ve found a vendor for these.

The holes on top were a little tricky because they need to be the right diameter for salt and pepper to flow out of at the right rate. Things I had to consider:  whatever sized holes I make are going to shrink 12% once the pieces go through the final firing (because that is how much my stoneware shrinks); and the holes will tend to clog with glaze when the shakers are dipped into the glaze.

I’ve used a drill bit that is 2mm in diameter to hand drill the holes in the tops once the shakers were leather hard. I marked the location of the holes using a template I made (based on similar sized salt/pepper shakers I’ve seen).  When the piece goes through the bisque firing (the first firing), the holes will shrink a little.  The shakers are glazed at this point, and the holes completely plug up with glaze, which requires that I use a needle tool to open them up again.  The glaze I use is a non-moving glaze, which means that it doesn’t shift during the firing (a necessary feature because I hand paint my bands and stripes on top of this white glaze, and don’t want my lines moving all over the place), so there’s little danger of the holes plugging up again during the firing.

My first shaker attempt just came out of the kiln today and now I can check how well it performs with salt and pepper. Back from my salt and pepper test.  Things worked pretty darn well.  Now that I have a final piece that works and know the final overall size of the shakers, I can design the artwork that will decorate them and order the stoppers for the bottoms.

I will report back with a finished and decorated set of dog themed salt and pepper shakers.

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day From Shepherds Grove!!

 

Dante-Shamrock

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day from Shepherds Grove Studio.  Dante, my older and distinguished German Shepherd, took time out of his busy schedule to “pose” for a picture and attack an innocent shamrock,  in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day.  Hope yours is just as jolly!

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How It’s Made – Shepherds Grove Dog Pottery

I recently made a short video that shows the overall process I use to make my handmade dog gifts.  I posted the video on the shepherds-grove.com “about” page but thought I would share it here as well.

I’m planning to add more video to my website, especially product videos.  Sometimes it’s a little difficult for someone unfamiliar with me and my work to know what the pottery items are really like.  Hopefully seeing them in action will help a little.

Bye for now,

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