Keeping Waste out of our Shipping Department

One large back corner of our studio contains a disorderly collection of cardboard boxes. Some are empty shipping cartons we’ve picked up when shopping the local grocery stores.  We’ll use the boxes for shipping our dog carvings. Other boxes, along with an odd medley of large plastic bags, are filled with Styrofoam peanuts, bubble wrap, air sacs, packing paper & such donated to us from friends & neighbors who don’t like the idea of putting re-usable or, for our area, non-recyclable materials into the local waste stream any more than we do.  We try to use it all.  Held in our storage area long enough, eventually all will be sent on to hopefully be recycled again at the receiving end.

It’s feast or famine it seems for matching the quantity of materials to our need for them.  However, when a oversupply arrives we always manage to find room for the excess somewhere.  Often our access passageway to the shipping corner is reduced to less than a body width, yet the inconvenience is negligible compared to the sense of doing our part to do right when it comes to reducing waste.

Today, when packing an order of Great Pyrenees & Bernese Mountain Dog carvings instead of rolling off new paper to wrap the dogs in, I delved into a 5 ft tall clear plastic bag to retrieve thin lengths of foam sheets as wrap.   Double satisfaction arrived when a used cardboard box of the right dimensions was found in the jumbled mess of potential shipping cartons.  By a little bit we’ve reduced the back corner clutter, saved a little bit of green & saved someone’s waste from going to the landfill.  Nice.  

Image

Where else does our shipping conserve resources?  Well, all our orders are printed on the back side of letters, statements, & any other old office paper.  Unfortunately, going paperless is not yet an option for our business at this point of time.  So we settle for re-purposing whatever suitable paper comes into our household & business.  

Additionally, almost all of our correspondence with customers & potential customers is conducted online further saving the use of paper for mailing invoices, statements, etc.  Receiving checks in the mail is all but a thing of the past, with most payments handled electronically in one fashion or other.

Back to boxes.  If we don’t happen to have a box of the right dimension for a particular shipment, we’ve become rather proficient at re-making a box into the configuration we need.  It has given us much appreciation for the art of carton design, of which there are endless methods of constructing a box.  Call us creative or call us cheap; it’s your call.  We’re glad to re-purpose a box is all! 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Activities at Dog Bark Park, a blog by Frances Conklin

Dennis & I are often asked what occupies our time at Dog Bark Park during the winter when our bed & breakfast inn is closed from November through March.

Hibernating beagles

Hibernating beagles

While the big dog is in hibernation & traffic is light out on the highway during winter, as much as we might wish to join the big dog for a long sleep, we instead focus on activities that can only be accomplished during this slower season.

During November, December & into January we’re kept busy in the carving studio making dog sculptures ordered as special holiday gifts. By the end of the holidays we’re typically depleted of inventory for our gift shop.

Dennis, Frances and Sprocket

In the studio, photo by David C.

After a short break in January, we take up the saws & paintbrushes again to begin rebuilding inventory of dog carvings in preparation for the busy summer season ahead.

Creating a dog carving

Creating a dog carving

Last week we increased our supply of carvings from 24 pieces on the shelves in our gift shop to 64 pieces completed & ready for sale.

Dog carvings on shelves

Dog carvings on shelves

We didn’t make such rapid progress this week preparing & packing some wholesale orders for shipping & doing other tasks in and away from the studio instead.
However, by the time April arrives we should have nearly 200 pieces  stocked for shipping to customers or selling directly from the shelves.

After the holidays, while our bodies continue resting from the long days of activity during the previous months, we  kick our mental energies into high gear creating new ideas for our art, business marketing & such. This is when we develop new postcard & other product designs, clean up the shop & store, order in new supplies for the inn, establish goals & objectives for the new year and the like.

We also allow ourselves more flexible work hours at the studio; sometimes not opening when the weather is too inclement.

Winter at Dog Bark Park, photo by Wild Web West

Winter at Dog Bark Park, photo by Wild Web West

We enjoy a bit more time at home reading, watching television & spending creative time in the kitchen & on the computer; all leisure luxuries mostly unavailable to us during our vibrant high season.

By mid-March we eagerly await the return of  spring’s beauty &  the opportunity to welcome visitors & guests to our wonderful part of Idaho.

How we do it – create a German Shepherd dog carving that is

What seems uninteresting & unremarkable to artists is often not the case for non-artists.  Many times artists’ fans & collectors are fascinated by the seemingly mysterious processes involved in the making of art.

This blog will describe some of the processes we use in our studio at Dog Bark Park to create a chainsaw-carved dog carving, specifically a German Shepherd Dog.     

German Shepherd Art

German Shepherd dog carvings

Using a gas Stihl chainsaw we cut a slab of wood from a log stored outdoors in our log  yard.  Imagine the large log being rather like a loaf of bread that is sliced into appropriate thicknesses for the various uses intended for the bread; perhaps thicker for french toast & thinner for sandwiches, for example.  Similarly, we cut the log slice to the appropriate thickness for the size of the piece planned.

chainsaw carving, chainsaw art, dog art

Cutting log into slabs

We bring the freshly cut slab into our studio where the rest of the chainsaw work is done using an electric Stihl saw.  We begin by drawing an outline of the desired dog on the slab, being mindful to “read” the wood to avoid placing a knot or other undesirable characteristic in a location that might compromise the final outcome of the carving.  A large knot  on the nose of the dog, for instance,  is detrimental to the structural & cosmetic integrity of the piece.

Dennis then begins cutting away in large chunks any wood outside the German Shepherd shape penciled on the wood.  Eventually the dog begins to emerge into a 3-dimensional piece as the carving process continues as he reduces the thickness of the nose, makes the cuts to fashion the ears, tail, feet and so forth.  The final stages include rounding all the squared edges to give a finished more natural look to the dog.  The scrap wood scattered on the floor around the wood carving platform after the piece is finished is a large volume of wood than what is in the finished piece.  All this scrap is stored becoming our fuel for heating the studio.

Dog art, chainsaw carvings, German Shepherd dog

Carving a German Shepherd

After being carved the dog is set aside, either indoors near the wood stove in winter or outdoors when sunny weather prevails,  for a few days or couple of weeks to dry before prepping the carving for painting.  How long a piece takes to cure depends on moisture levels in the wood, the ambient air humidity & such factors. 

When cured, the dog is given eye & nostril cuttings using a Dremel tool.  The dog is brushed to remove any thick globs of sawdust and then it is lightly burned with a propane torch to burn off any remaining loose material as well as any residual chainsaw oil.  The burning also provides a final cure & adds color to the pine wood.

The German Shepherd carving is then taken outdoors to a painting table to spray paint on the black saddle markings.  At least two coats are applied, with drying time of a few hours or couple of days between coats.  Next the dog is moved to our studio paint table where its eyes and nostrils are hand-painted black.  Final finishing includes affixing a brass license tag  to the dog’s upper chest, tying a red fabric neckerchief around its neck & attaching hang tag.

At most times of the year our carvings are made to order, meaning they will be packaged for pick-up or mailing  to customers upon their completion.  This process is often called on-demand manufacturing.  In any case, what it means for us is that typically our carvings sell faster than we can replace inventory in our shop store.   We do try to maintain an inventory of at least 50 small-size carvings of various breeds at any one time to be able to fulfill orders for them quickly.

Somehow this large-size German Shepherd

Dog Art, Chainsaw dog art, German Shepherd art

German Shepherd Dog carving ready to paint

has not been spoken for.  We have left it “naked” for the time being in the event someone is interested to have a white shepherd, all black one, or one with markings different from the typical black saddle & muzzle.  If ordered this week we could still complete paint and ship the Shepherd to arrive before Dec 25th.       

Dog art, German Shepherd Dogs, Chainsaw art, gifts for dog lovers

German Shepherd large ready for paint, small ready for adoption

Fun Source for planning Family Travel – FamilyDaysOut.com

This award-winning website, FamilyDaysOut.com, is a great resource for family travel planning.  In existence for 16 or so years, the fun website is chockfull of ideas for places to go & places to stay for families.

From the homepage map click on the region or state and then select more options from there depending on the ages & interests of your family.  Another way to get info is to enter a town or zipcode in the search box.

For example, here’s the entry for Dog Bark Park.  It might be interesting to see what comes up when entering the zip for your town.  There just might be an activity or nearby place that would be perfect for your family’s next outing.

Do you Zip Line? Idaho has 7

When asked what there is to do in Idaho besides come stay in the big dog for those expressing interest in adventure we mention Idaho’s spectacular zip lines.  Four are located within a few hours drive of Dog Bark Park.  Might be fun to plan an entire Idaho vacation around visiting each line. 

Seven Zip Lines Across Idaho

Zip Idaho provides a unique eco-adventure that combines Idaho’s longest zip lines with tree based canopy-tour style zip lines. The course offers seven lines, ranging from 175 to 1700 feet in length. Zip Idaho is based in Horseshoe Bend, just a half hour north of Boise and a nature lovers dream. Whitewater rafting, swimming, mountain biking, fishing, and scenic train rides are just a few activities to enjoy in the area.

 

Tamarack Canopy Zip Line Tours, located in the mountains overlooking Donelly, Idahopromises a thrilling, action packed mountain tour experience. Eight zip lines range in length from 250-800 feet, whisking zippers above 4,425 feet of rugged, scenic terrain with a 1,700 change in elevation. The tour soars over creeks, canyons, and forest and experienced guides narrate the journey sharing information about plants and animals native to the Payette River Mountains and the history of this area

 Heise Hot Springs Zip Line, in Ririe in Southeast Idaho, consists of seven zip lines covering almost a mile of terrain. The experienced tour guides do all the work so riders can experience the adrenaline pumping, jaw dropping thrill ride! During the two hour tour adventure riders learn the history of Heise Hot Springs while enjoying the beautiful mountains and the valley and river below. More activities are available at Heise, including swimming, golf and fishing. 

Schweitzer Mountain Zip Line is just one of the many activities available at the Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort near Sandpoint in northern Idaho. Stretching over 700′, the zip line begins at the resort village and runs towards Lake Pend Oreille, offering spectacular mountain and lake views. A dual zip line allows two riders to experience the fun side-by-side.

Lava Zip Line Adventures is located near Lava Hot Springs in eastern Idaho. The zip line tour covers several thousand feet, travelling through a scenic canyon and can be enjoyed winter or summer.

Silver Streak Zipline Tours, located in Wallace in northern Idaho, is expected to open in May, 2012. Reservations may be made by calling 208-512-3965.

Magic Valley Flight Simulation Zip Line – Twin Falls: Coming summer of 2012

Sweet Willy is 10 years old – Specials offered

 This year marks the 10th year that guests have been arriving to stay inside Sweet Willy’s giant dog body. 

Sweet Willy the big dog inn for humans

Over his ten years, he has gained much notoriety and blazed trails for Dog Bark Park around the world.  We think he has easily earned a Perfect 10 for good work!
 
To celebrate, Dog Bark Park is offereing 10th anniversary specials throughout the year.   Look for announcements of the specials here & on our social media channels.
 
Our 1st special is all about another breed of dog – labrador retrievers!
 
Order 2 small-size labrador carvings from our online gallery and receive a $10 rebate.  This offer is valid until March 10, 2012.

Labrador Retriever - Black, Yellow, Chocolate, shown sitting pose

 
 Labs are available in sitting or standing poses.  Each comes with a brass license tag located underneath the red neckerchief & an informational hangtag. 
 
To receive the $10 rebate, both dogs need to be ordered at the same time & shipped to the same address. 
The $10 rebate will be issued as a refund at the same time we email acknowledgement of the order.

Labrador Retriever - Sitting, Standing

 
 
     Please join us in observing Sweet Willy’s 10th birthday.  If labradors aren’t the breed of choice for you or yours, do check back from time to time for other surprise specials.
 
    Sweet Willy thanks everyone for being a part of his first 10 years.  “Keep on barkin’!” is this beagle’s message when asked about his special birthday!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

February 2012 Newsletter

10th Anniversary Newsletter

More than seven dog years have elapsed since our last newsletter. And we’re scratching our heads like frantic hounds trying to figure out where the time has gone! We certainly never intended for such a gap between newsletters & hope you will enjoy hearing from us now.

If you’re still with us on your screen, you’ve made us happy as a hound. We promise to make this a short read.

Dennis, Frances and SprocketWe are Dennis, Sprocket, big beagles Sweet Willy & Toby, and Frances.

10th BirthdayDog Bark Park View from Roof - Cottonwood Idaho

Speaking of dog years, this year is Sweet Willy’s 10th birthday.  That’s ten human years our big pet has been entertaining overnight visitors to Idaho’s most unique lodging.  It has been our extreme pleasure to share him with all of you who have found your way here.  Were it not for Sweet Willy, we likely would not have met or enjoyed visiting with you & your travel companions!

Bed and Breakfast in the Big DogPictour’

We’ve coined a new word – pictour!  Travel our brief ‘pictour’ of what’s new & what’s maybe not so new, along with some of our Dog Bark Park favorites.

We caught this sunset last June.  Until living in the West, we never believed skies could really be the sunset colors painted by Charlie Russell.Big Red Fire Hydrant at Dog Bark Park

A big dog needs a big red fire hydrant!  This one serves double duty as a restroom for summer travelers.

Fish Sculpture at Dog Bark Park

Made of steel, Dennis designed this 12-ft sculpture to memorialize the importance of anadromous fish in the waters around which we live.  Visitors to our studio can see Dennis’
wGiant Coffee Pot Percolator - Commemorating Corningware.ood scale model that was the inspiration for the sculpture.

By the time Dennis completed the fire hydrant he was hooked on making pop art big things using stucco.  A giant percolator was the next big thing project, which soon will house a tiny coffee pot museum.

Reminiscent of the wooden alphabet blocks of Blocks at Dog Bark Parkyesteryear, these four-ft square blocks weigh hundreds of pounds each & are unlikely to be rearranged to spell other words!

To answer the oft-asked question of who made the giant d-o-g blocks, we supplied evidence that a block master lives on the premises by making his house!  BlockmastersSometimes Mr. Blockmaster is seen with works in progress on his lap or scattered about near his feet.

DiaphanousWe’re also often asked where our creative ideas come from. And often we are not able to exactly say.  Although math, science, logic & such are often processes in the making of art, creativity is not a straight-flowing front-of-mind process.  The origins of Diaphanous, however, are very clear.  The roof of this pedestrian entryway to Dog Bark Park was a design Dennis discovered half a lifetime ago when working out a roofing problem for a construction job. From time to time over the ensuing decades he would revisit the design until finally the opportunity to build it at Dog Bark Park came in Truck Crossinglate 2010.

Inspiration for last fall’s project came from Dennis’ 1977 Ford F150 pickup.Winter arrived before the wheels, tires & other detailing were done, yet we did get proper signage installed!

TruckThis newsletter highlights only some of the big things in our outdoor art garden.  Ideas are always circulating for more.  Stay tuned to learn what’s next, or stop by to see for yourself.

 

 

Other News

National and international publicity continues.  Recent highlights have included the Travel Channel, MTV, ABC News, and CBS Early Show.  Media articles this last year have appeared in Norway, Italy, Germany, Poland, Brazil, England, Hong Kong, Turkey, Canada, Japan, Austria, Spain, France, Australia, The Netherlands, and probably others we don’t recall at the moment!

Frances will be completing her six-year term for the Idaho Division of Tourism Travel Council advisory board this year.  Traveling throughout Idaho for meetings has been wonderfully beneficial for Dennis & me to better serve our guests with personal recommendations for places and things to do in Idaho.  By the way, Idaho’s best & official on-line source for travel info is www.visitidaho.org.

Sprocket, the furriest golden retriever we’ve owned, is now full-grown and serves admirably as Dog Bark Park ambassador. He enjoys everyone and everything, including long walks, play, & sleep at day’s end!

Anniversary Announcement

We’ll be celebrating Sweet Willy’s 10th birthday with surprises and specials throughout the year.  We hope you’ll join the party by looking for announcements as they appear on our website, blog, Face Book, Twitter & Linked In connections.

We appreciate your interest in Dog Bark Park.  Be in touch; we always appreciate your feedback and ideas.   Keep on barkin’!!!
Dennis and FrancesDog Bark Park Inn

Dennis J Sullivan & Frances Conklin        2421 Business Hwy 95 at the Dog,  Cottonwood , ID 83522

Dog Bark Park Inn – Bed and Breakfast and World’s Biggest BeagleWhere being in the dog-house is a GOOD thing!Visit our website: http://www.dogbarkparkinn.com

Email: frances@dogbarkparkinn.com
For Reservations 208-962-3647

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