2012 Pig Lovers Gift Guide

December 5, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Posted in Pig Gift Ideas, Pig Rescue Organizations | 1 Comment
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It’s that time of year. Time to shop for your favorite pig lovers. Here to help is your 2012 Pig Lovers Gift Guide!

This year the guide is divided into categories;

FAIR TRADE: There are quite a few socially responsible Fair Trade pig gifts out there, available from businesses who belong to the Fair Trade Federation (FTF). All members undergo a rigorous screening process that evaluates their practice of all nine Fair Trade Principles. So you can feel good buying products from FTF businesses.

Mass-produced made in China pig gifts are easy to find and usually cheap (and cheaply made), but are they worth it?

HANDMADE: Thanks to websites like Etsy, finding one-of-a-kind handmade pig gifts is becoming easier and easier. Supporting artists feels good. You should try it! (Gift Guide products link to Etsy artist’s main store page, not direct to product since product page urls change often.)

DIY: Attention do-it-yourselfers, if you like to make your own pig gifts, this is the section for you!

PIG CHARITIES: This section lists some of the terrific Pig Rescue Organizations who rely on donations to keep up their great work. Donating in your favorite pig lover’s name makes a great gift.



Be a Pig Cookie Jar. Bake something homemade and hide inside for a double gift! www.tenthousandvillages.com $38 Photo Credit: Ten Thousand Villages

Be a Pig Cookie Jar. Bake something homemade and hide inside for a double gift! http://www.tenthousandvillages.com $38 Photo Credit: Ten Thousand Villages

Salt n Pepper Pig Shakers. Seasoning, pig style. www.serrv.org $22 Photo Credit: Serrv

Salt n Pepper Pig Shakers. Seasoning, pig style. http://www.serrv.org $22 Photo Credit: Serrv

Piggy Bank

Terra Cotta Piggy Bank. Add a few coins to make this gift jingle. http://www.Serrv.org $14 Photo Credit: Serrv

Felt Pig Puppet. Play pig with your favorite munchkins. www.globalgoodspartners.org. $8 Photo Credit: Global Goods Partners

Felt Pig Puppet. Play pig with your favorite munchkins. http://www.globalgoodspartners.org. $8 Photo Credit: Global Goods Partners

Pigs Can Fly Candleholder

Pigs Can Fly Candle. Include extra candles to really light up this gift! http://www.tenthousandvillages.com $16 Photo Credit: Ten Thousand Villages


Vinyl Record Pendant

Vinyl Record Pig Pendant. The artist makes pigs and a whole lot more! http://www.etsy.com/shop/RandomPrefect $15 Photo Credit: RandomPerfect

Pig & Love Rubber Stamp. Give as a gift OR use to decorate your gift cards. $1.50 www.etsy.com/shop/ppappappiyo Photo Credit: Ppappappiyo

Pig & Love Rubber Stamp. Give as a gift OR use to decorate your gift cards. $1.50 http://www.etsy.com/shop/ppappappiyo Photo Credit: Ppappappiyo

Pig Cutting Board

Bamboo Pig Cutting Board. Practical gift, sustainable wood. http://www.etsy.com/shop/BotanicalBoards $39 Photo Credit: Botanical Boards


Crochet pig hat

Pig Hat Crochet Pattern: http://www.etsy.com/shop/KraftyShack $4.99 Photo Credit: KraftyShack


Make your own piggy bank! Paper mache is cool again, haven’t you heard? This blog post has easy-to-understand instructions on how to make your very own paper mache piggy bank. http://www.darkbluedragon.com Free plus supplies

Candy Box Pig Family

Candy Box Pig Family. You order the digital prints, then it’s very easy to put together — print, cut, fold, glue. http://www.etsy.com/shop/KarKarStyle $3.00 Photo Credit: KarKarStyle


Well, that’s a wrap on this years Pig Lovers Gift Guide. If you sell pig gifts and you didn’t make the list, by all means share it in the Comments section. The more the merrier.

Happy Holidays to all!


Canadians Share Their Love For Pigs

July 31, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Posted in Pig Gift Ideas, Pig Rescue Organizations, Pigs with Other Animals, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Ruby Ranch Pig Sanctuary namesake "Ruby" Photo Credit: http://www.rubyranch.ca

The other day I got an email from Sherry Burnett. She’s Canadian, eh. She and her husband run a pig santuary in Ontario, Canada called Ruby Ranch Pig Sanctuary. They named the ranch after their very first potbellied pig named, you guessed it, Ruby!

Sherry emailed me:

We love pigs here in Canada too. My husband and I run a small sanctuary with 19 resident pigs, 2 sheep, 2 bunnies, 3 dogs and 3 cats, all rescues. The pigs are definitely our favorites, and have been since we got our first potbellied pig, Ruby, about 8 years ago.

Oooh, I’d love to see some pics with all those animals milling about!

I went on their website to learn more about Ruby Ranch. Here’s how they started:

Ruby was our very first rescue. She was born at a pseudo-sanctuary (a sanctuary that breeds, and has too many animals to properly care for) and when we first set eyes on her, she and her brother were in a bird cage, in a dark and smelly barn. We asked if we could purchase her, and she was sold to us for $50. She was the inspiration for Ruby Ranch. Soon after she joined our family, we reached out to other pig parents, and rescuers. We realized there was a great need for a safe haven for these very misunderstood pets.

I guess the rest is history. Way to go Sherry!

Get Involved:

Visit http://rubyranch.ca to learn more about Ruby Ranch Pig Sanctuary. (You can sponsor a pig, which makes for a super cool gift for that special pig lover in your life, even if that pig lover is YOU!)

Contact Info: email Sherry@RubyRanch.ca

Piggy Bank Goes Wee Wee Wee, All the Way to Plane Crash

July 11, 2011 at 5:12 am | Posted in My Pig Collection, Pig Gift Ideas | 1 Comment
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Piggybank maker proudly showcasing his wares

Last weekend on the way to Sausalito for what turned out to be quite the adventure across the bay, I happened by a stand of piggy banks amongst the artisan street vendors across from the SF ferry building. After chatting with the bank maker, I bought one. Granted, it was my boyfriend Chris’s birthday, not mine, so buying myself a lil something did feel a bit…gauche, but the surprises I had in store for the birthday boy kept would-be pangs of guilt from emerging. And well, you know how it is. This little piggy bank really spoke to me:)

My new piggy bank

The bank was handmade by JONOVAN, sort of a grown-up version of paper mache, with thoughtfully placed funny pages decorating the outer shell of my new coin collector. And as a cute little touch, each JONOVAN bank comes with a (lucky?) penny in it.

If you want one of your own, simply email Don3Jon@aol.com or call 415-863-9384.

So what’s this you read about a plane crash? Well, after my spontaneous purchase, we hopped a ferry to Sausalito where a vintage 1908 tugboat awaited us. Part of the birthday surprise was that we would be bunking on a posh little tugboat overnight, after cruising Richardson Bay with captain David for a champagne sunset cruise.

Chris and I in front of the little tugboat that could

What I didn’t plan on was witnessing a small plane crash before our very eyes, or helping David and Chris pluck the plane pilot out of the cold bay as his airplane sunk, or having my photo of the plane end up on ABC. You can watch the whole story as told through pictures here.

What is the moral of this story? I have no idea. But I have a new piggy bank and my boyfriend got to feel like a hero on his birthday. All in all, a happy ending.

A Pig Stand-in Covers for Birthday Girl

June 11, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Posted in My Pig Collection, Pig Gift Ideas | Leave a comment
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Global Exchange staff with banana bread and pigs

I turned 41 a few Thursdays ago. I work for a human rights organization called Global Exchange on Mondays, Tuesday and Wednesdays so on my birthday, I was elsewhere. Well, in my absence, my co-workers celebrated my birthday, sans moi.

They huddled around homemade banana bread with a candle on it (and bourbon, my fave, in it!) and used a little pig they borrowed from my desk to stand in for me (plus a pig pitcher also grabbed from my desk.) A video of the occasion showed up on my Facebook page that very same day, with the description “Global Exchange sings Happy Birthday Tex, featuring a candle-blowing pig (or two) in the role of Tex Dworkin.”

The mastermind behind this thoughtful act was my good pal Bergen. I’ve worked (and drank) with him on and off for years. What a peach. The next Monday I came into work and saw the email he sent out that started this plan into motion:

OK, so I just learned Tex isn’t here on Thursdays, but it IS her birthday, and she IS maybe my favorite person I’ve ever worked on a really, really hard project with (we built the gx online store together when we were kids)… SO……

I made banana bread with Jim Beam sauce and am putting birthday candles on it and am going to blow them out myself in the front of the office while drinking too much coffee. I have no idea if it tastes any good, but come’n’get it!
Love you Tex!
– in your absence, Bergen

I’m sharing this with you because it was such a thoughtful act, I felt I needed to tell someone. Thoughtful acts can really make someone’s day. On May 19th, my co-workers made mine. Thanks GXers, you’re all a bunch of peaches. Juicy, sweet peaches.

2010 Pig Lovers Gift Guide

December 16, 2010 at 4:10 am | Posted in Pig Gift Ideas | 3 Comments
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Do YOU know someone (besides me) who loves pigs? There are more of us than you might think. If you do and you haven’t gotten them a holiday gift yet, then terrific, you’ve come to the right place.

I guess since I created the first Pig Gift Guide last year, I can call this the 2nd Annual Pig Lovers Gift Guide. (Sounds so official, right?!)

Like last year, this guide focuses on presents with purpose…green gifts, handmade treasures, fair trade piggies. That sort of thing. No mass-produced pig gifts made in China here. Finding those is like finding….hay in a hay stack. You don’t need a gift guide for that.

Instead of wasting your money on cheapo products made in China of unsustainable materials, here are 3 Shopping Tips to pig shop with heart:

  • Grab an antique pig treasure from your local vintage shop.
  • Search the Fair Trade Federation’s list of business members who sell all sorts of socially responsible crafts
  • Visit Etsy and type in pig and pages upon pages of handmade, unique products pop up.

The bottom line: it’s not hard to shop with your conscience.

Oh, one more thing before we get to the Gift Guide. Bernie Sanders makes the point that buying mass produced products made in China is harmful to our economy, and thus American families. The Independent from Vermont grabbed people’s attention with his comment about China being our 51st state, a revelation he came to while holiday shopping with his wife.

I wonder what Bernie would say about uncommongoods.com, the Online Store whose tagline boasts “find anything but ordinary.” I visited their site while researching for this gift guide. When I entered “pig” a bunch of items that turned up were made, you guessed it, IN CHINA! Uncommon? I don’t think so. And a bit ironic given their tagline.

But I don’t mean to single them out. They do offer many responsibly-made products as well, including the pig weather vane below created by Pennsylvania artists Ben and Kate Gatski. And I’ll credit them this: at least they have the decency to list where most of their products are made. Now that IS uncommon.

So without further adieu….

Your 2010 Pig Lovers Gift Guide!

(Click on product picture to get to Where to Buy. If you get an error message, it is probably SOLD OUT. Or it just changed links.)


Piggy Potholders. Fair Trade + Practical = Perfect! http://www.globalexchangestore.org $9.95

Pig Weather Vane. Give someone more direction in their life. http://www.uncommongoods.com $160

Donate to Pigs Peace Sanctuary. In your pig lover's name. http://www.pigspeace.org Price: You choose

Terra Cotta Pig Dish. Fair Trade and made to serve. http://www.tenthousandvillages.com $16

3 Little Pigs Finger Puppet Set. Act the story out with kids. Or without kids. Whatever. http://www.lucuma.com $19.50

Piggy Bank. Saving can be fun. I swear! http://www.worldofgood.ebay.com $18.75

Pig Paper Clips. Keep it together folks. http://www.goodgiftsnaturally.com $17


Three Pigs Recycled Record Comb. It used to rock. Now it accessorizes. http://www.etsy.com/shop/Tresijas $20

Humane Farming Association Greeting Cards. HFA rulz and so do their cards. http://www.hfa.org $10

Flying Pig Art Piece. I guess you could call it an extremely large paper weight. http://www.etsy.com/shop/Middleburg $58


Global Exchange Potholders


$9.95 Fair Trade + Practical = Perfect!

Donation to Pigs Peace Sanctuary


Price: Your choice. Donate in someone’s name.

Ten Thousand Villages Pig Terra Cotta Dish


$16 Fair Trade and there to serve

Lucuma 3 Little Pigs Finger Puppet Set


$19.50 Act the story out with kids. Or without kids. Whatever.

Crossroads Trade Piggy Bank:


$18.75 Saving can be fun.

Three Pigs Recycled Record Comb


$20 It used to rock. Now it accessorizes.

Pig Weather Vane


$160 Give someone more direction in their life.

Humane Farming Association Greeting Cards


$10 This organization rocks and so do their cards.

Pig Paper Clips


$17 Keep it together folks.

Farm Country Patchwork Pillow



Pig Art


$58 It’s art. And it’s sooo cute. So there!

How Well Do My Friends and Family Follow Directions?

March 15, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Posted in My Pig Collection, Pig Gift Ideas | 4 Comments
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In 2009 I created my first Online Pig Gift Guide. It was a joy to put together, because it helped me absorb the sensational pig finds, without actually having to own them, thus keeping the chaos of clutter at bay. An excerpt from the guide stipulated:

Despite constantly reminding friends and loved ones that I am not actively seeking to add to my overly abundant pig collection, I receive numerous pig related gifts each holiday. The caveat I’ve placed on receiving pig gifts is this: if it has a practical use or is a vintage find with lots of character, I’m willing to make exceptions:)

So did friends and family adhere to the aforementioned ground rules? As my pig blog readership grows (to a whopping 10 people and counting) I figured you, my loyal readers, deserved to know. So here goes:

During the 2009 holiday season I received the following items from friends and family:

  1. 1 Pig Hat, wool with fleece lining (that’s me above sporting it; I can relate to The Christmas Story scene when the kid wears the bunny suit)
  2. 1 Pig Steamer that fits on top of pots to let steam out (through the 2 pig nostrils, of course)
  3. Porkchops (they’re punny chopsticks with pigs on them)
  4. A pig t-shirt (extra points for organic cotton and local artist-designed)
  5. Pig Cutting Board (made of a sustainable wood = a definite plus)
  6. A Vintage Pig Figurine (love it!)
  7. A farmer pig decorative item from a local second-hand shop (2nd hand shop items=cool, less crap being added to the world)
  8. A pig ice-cream scooper (my second one, shhh!)
  9. A pig umbrella (garners much attention on the streets of San Francisco)
  10. Reusable pig shopping tote bag (I use this bag almost every day when I go to the produce market)
  11. Book The Whole Hog: Exploring the Extraordinary Potential of Pigs by Lyall Watson. This was actually his last published book, according to Wikipedia. R.I.P. Lyall!

Did these gifts meet the criteria set forth in the original blog post? You be the judge.

Do you see now why I have more pigs in my life than I know what to do with? I’m almost 40. That’s 40 birthdays, 40 holidays, and 40 National Pig Days x 11 pig gifts. You do the math.

The word gluttonous comes to mind. Pigs are not gluttonous, G-d no. I’m talking about myself. One definition of gluttonous: greedy; insatiable.

Ahhh, yes. Insatiable. That is the word I would use to describe my pig habit. No quantity of socially responsible-made pig products and vintage finds will fill me up. It’s an appetite that never goes away.

Happy Thankspigging

November 26, 2009 at 7:18 am | Posted in My Pig Collection, Pig Gift Ideas, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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It’s Thankspigging time, and I’m giving thanks for 4 things that made me smile this year. Oh, and I promise, no more puns.

1) I love Queen + I love the Muppets = I LOVE this video!          

2009 Fair Trade Calendar

2) This year I volunteered to help put together the first annual Fair Trade calendar. 100% of proceeds benefit the Fair Trade Federation and Fair Trade Resource Network, two great organizations working hard to promote Fair Trade and educate consumers about the importance of ethical shopping. Thousands of copies are now on sale nationwide.

The best part? Since I dedicated so much of my own time to this project, I felt justified in sneaking my favorite holiday in; National Pig Day March 1st. (It’s also my Mom’s birthday.)

3) Despite some pretty serious close calls this year, my dog Henry is alive at 15. Here he is resting comfortably on my homemade pig & cow quilt given to me by KCBS anchorwoman Rebecca Corral.

Henry rests comfortably on pig quilt.

4) I bought a certain someone his first piggy bank this year. Welcome to the world, Henry Shaw Gelbach!

Happy Thankspigging everyone!!!

Pig Gift Guide 2009

November 22, 2009 at 1:06 am | Posted in Pig Gift Ideas, Uncategorized | 9 Comments
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It’s holiday shopping season, in case you haven’t noticed. Below are some pig-themed gift suggestions to help you serve the needs of your swine loving pals.

In lieu of collecting these pig finds myself, I’m hoping that sharing them with you will help purge my need to actually own them.

Friends and family, please note: This is not my holiday wish list. Those who don’t know me, here’s the deal: Despite constantly reminding friends and loved ones that I am not actively seeking to add to my overly abundant pig collection, I receive numerous pig related gifts each holiday. I’m sure you fellow pig collectors can relate.

The caveat I’ve placed on receiving pig gifts is this: if it has a practical use (like the hand-blown glass pig vase my friend Laird hand delivered to me last week) or is a vintage find with lots of character, I’m willing to make exceptions:)

Side note: I realize that my caveat is rarely adhered to, as reflected in the glutinous assembly of pig tchotchkes in the creaks and crevices of my too-small cottage.

Check out these unique pig gifts, and if you find others, share them in the comments field. I’m sure my 5 blog readers will appreciate the recommendation:)

Pig earphones. Talk about practical! http://www.spoonsisters.com $12.95

Set of Mini Pig Notecards. Say what? http://www.etsy.com $3.25 for 5

Fair Trade crocheted pig. Designed and handmade by a Mom in Thailand. http://www.globalexchangestore.org $18.50

Fair Trade Piggy Bank. Pottery crafted by artisans in Chili. http://www.tenthousandvillages.com $16.00

Pig Pals Infant Outfit. Profits go to Pig Pals Sanctuary, a non-profit dedicated to the long term care of pigs. http://www.cafepress.com/pigpals $11.99

Organic cotton stuffed pig toy. Hand-sewn fabric scraps, filled with recycled fiber & eco-friendly dyed. http://www.kidbean.com $15.00

Veg Starter Kit. Encourage friends and family to Go Veg. http://www.farmusa.org FREE!

Flying Pig Art Sculptor. Made of recycled parts by artist Fred Conlon. http://www.snappyturtletrading.com $165.99

Vegetable-based Pig Soap. These “Trois Petite Cochons” come in a handmade gift box. http://www.uncommongoods.com Set of three $20.

The Humane Farming Association T-shirt. A great organization to support! www. hfa.org $12.00


Set of Mini Pig Notecards. Say what? http://www.etsy.com $3.25 for 5

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