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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For Labradoodle Lovers!

I received a request for a Mini Labradoodle mug and went to work making the new Labradoodle design.  I always appreciate when my customers write me about the products they ordered.  This customer was very happy with the Labradoodle mug she had ordered for her daughter.  I have such a fun job 🙂

The Labradoodle design is available on all of the pottery shapes I make, which can be found on my Labradoodle Gifts page.  It is currently only available in red, but if you need a different color, just ask.

 

labradoodle-lover-mug

 

 

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New! Saint Bernard Dog Design

My Saint Bernard Gifts are now available! I started my Saint Bernard Design in the summer for a customer but hadn’t finished it because she got busy and didn’t provide me with a picture of the coat color of her friend’s dog.  But things came together and I finished the art, and the items, and now have a finished piece with a Saint Bernard to show you, and notice that it was made with my new mug shape.  Here is my new Saint Bernard mug:

Handmade Saint Bernard Mug by shepherds-grove.com

The Saint Bernard mug is on my website, along with the Saint Bernard Ring Dish (dipping bowl), which is a cute little bowl for holding rings, coins, sauces, etc.  I will be adding all of my other pottery shapes to the Saint Bernard gifts category very soon.

“My Dog Loves Me” Contest Update

The winner of the “My Dog Loves Me”  contest in June was Amanda. A big CONGRATULATIONS to her and her Boxers!!  She submitted some very compelling photos and one went on to the final round and received the most public votes. Here is the winning picture.

As you can see, her dogs (only one seen here) are very supportive and have been giving their love abundantly through a challenging situation.  Our dogs are so encouraging – we’re so lucky to have them in our lives.

The prize for the winner was a mug with the picture of their choice. The mug was just completed this week and here it is.


Here you can see Amanda’s three Boxers – aren’t they sweet? I love how nicely their sitting there while the picture was taken.  The contest was a very fun experience and I will be repeating it again and I’ll give plenty of notice when I do.

July’s Dog of the Month

St-Bernard-jpg

July’s Dog of the Month is the Saint Bernard, and was chosen because a customer requested it.  So if you’re looking for a breed that isn’t yet on my list, then request it! 🙂

The history of the Saint Bernard is surrounded in mystery and legend and makes an excellent read.  Here are some highlights.  Passing Romans brought dogs into Switzerland; dogs mated with local dogs and created the stock from which St. Bernards stem.  Monks used these dogs at their Hospice in the St. Bernard Pass (between Italy and Switzerland) during the 16th and 17th centuries. The breed eventually got its name from the hospice from which it originated (1880 was when it was officially designated as St. Bernard)  however it was referred to as the “Hospice Dog”and “Sacred Dog” prior to that.  Many tales of rescue ensued from the Hospice; fires happened that obscure the record of these dogs at the Hospice.  Severe weather from 1816- 1818 killed many of the Hospice strains.  A similar situation occurred in 1830, and inbreeding and disease exacerbated the weakening of their breed.  Monks outcrossed the Hospice Dogs with Newfoundlands and this revitalized the breed, while keeping the Hospice Dog type and characteristics.  This also produced the first long hair variety, as prior to 1830 they were all short haired.  That’s the breed history in a very hasty nutshell.  There is much more information about the dedicated breeders involved along the way that I don’t have room for here.  It really is amazing how these very old dog breeds come about.

I will be making a couple of coat varieties.  And there is always the option to have the artwork customized to reflect your dog’s markings, if my coat variations aren’t quite right for your dog.  Just select the “custom coat” option on the item page (there is a small art fee for this option).  I will post my finished design soon, do some color testing, and then you’ll be able to purchase Saint Bernard gifts here!

Enjoy the rest of your July!

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June’s Dog of the Month – Alaskan Klee Kai

Alaskan-Klee-Kai

I will be changing the “Dog of the week” to “Dog of the Month”.  I was very ambitious to take on a new dog design every week, though I am happy about my efforts and the drawings they produced.  The design work is, for me, the most time consuming part of what I do, and I feel that a new drawing every month allows me to give the time I need to the artwork.

June’s Dog of the Month is the Alaskan Klee Kai.  What?  Never heard of it?  I have to admit that I was unfamiliar with it until a customer asked if I did custom work because her dog breed was not on my website list and it is hard to find items with her dog breed on them.  I told her that I happily add new breeds at the request of customers.  She sent me a picture of her cute pup and told me that it was an Alaskan Klee Kai.   I immediately took the internet to find out all about it.

Klee Kai is the Eskimo term for “little dog.”  The breed was developed beginning in the early 1970’s as a miniature version of the Alaskan Husky, a popular breed for racing and sledding in Alaska, though not recognize by the AKC.  The Klee Kai is not recognized by the AKC either, but spayed and neutered dogs can be entered in AKC Partners programs and Companion events.

So what is the Klee Kai like? The miniature version is from 13-15″ and the standard from 15″-17″. They have a distinct facial mask and can come in any color except all white.  They are quick learners and very active – like Huskies, they love to run.  Here are some of the activities I found the Alaskan Klee Kai involved in: agility, freestyle, dock diving, weight pull, therapy and service dogs, carting, rally obedience, nose work.  From my understanding, the Alaskan Klee Kai is one-family oriented and are very reserved around strangers, which is a challenge because they are so cute and people are drawn to them.  However, like any population, there are some very social members among the Alaskan Klee Kai too, as must be the case if they are used as therapy and service dogs.

I was very happy to be introduced to this breed and to get to learn more about it.  I will post my finished Alaskan Klee Kai artwork when I finish it.  And soon after that, you’ll be able to find it among the other dog pottery on the Shepherds Grove website.

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P.S.  I am currently running a contest on Instagram – #mydoglovesmecontest  Look at any of my most recent pictures to see how to enter.  Good luck!!