The Uncommon Life

Slainte! The Surprising Story of Irish Whiskey & St. Patrick’s Day

March 7, 2019

The Shamrock GlassCelebrating St. Patrick’s Day

You might not feel particularly lively the morning after a festive St. Patrick’s Day celebration, but that doesn’t stop many from partaking in the “water of life” in honor of Ireland. In other words, the rivers of Irish Whiskey will flow on March 17.

This golden-brown beverage has a rich history, so we thought we’d share a little more about Irish Whiskey.

Yours, Mine, & Ours Decanter Det

Yours, Mine, and Ours Engraved Decanter Set – $65 Buy Now »

 

Uisce on the rocks, please.

Where did whiskey come from?

Actually, whiskey as we know it came to be in Ireland. In the 6th century monks used distilled grains as the base for medicines. They called it “Uisce Beatha,” in Goidelic, or “water of life,” thanks to its healing properties. (While some may argue that whiskey doesn’t have any healing properties, keep in mind that it is antiseptic and a pain killer.) Over time, the spirit became known as “whiskey,” a mispronunciation of “Uisce.”

 

Irish Spirit

Whiskey love spread across Europe over time. For example, to Scotland, where it developed in to Scotch. It’s said that Queen Elizabeth I enjoyed imbibing in the distilled drink, and Peter the Great once proclaimed, “of all the wines, the Irish spirit is the best.”

Irish Whiskey Shamrock Glass
Sham-Rock Glass – $48- $50 Buy Now »

 

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The Uncommon Life

Meet Industrial Designer Tyson Cromwell, Winner Of UncommonGoods’ Spring 2019 Scholarship

March 1, 2019

Tyson’s winning design.

We’re always on the lookout for the next great design. Of course, great designs don’t create themselves. Learning to craft something beautiful takes patience, time, and willingness to learn. We’re proud of all the dedicated folks out there committed to learning to do what they love. That’s part of the reason we started our UncommonGoods Scholarship program.

This time around, our scholarship team was mesmerized by the beauty of winner Tyson Cromwell’s furniture design. Tyson received $1,000 to use toward continuing his education at Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where he’s currently studying industrial design.

We asked Tyson to share a little more about his career aspirations, his love of design, and how his father helps inspire his work. Check out our Q&A below to learn more.

Tyson and his baby daughter, who inspired him to design his winning crib.

 

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The Uncommon Life

Video: How to Grow Herbs
Indoors & All Year

February 22, 2019

1. Mason Jar Indoor Herb Garden


Mason Jar Indoor Herb Garden – $20 Buy Now »

 

2. Kitchen Essentials Herb Planter


Kitchen Essentials Herb Planter – $18-25 Buy Now »

 

3. Antiqued Brass Growhouse


Antiqued Brass Growhouse – $150 Buy Now »

 

Maker Stories

Video | Maker Stories: Why Cartoonists Are Like Oysters

February 15, 2019

    “You don’t choose to be a cartoonist, cartooning chooses you,” says Mort Gerberg. And it certainly made a good choice, considering that Mort’s been at it for more than 50 years.

    We’re excited to announce that we’re offering an exclusive collection of framed art prints–12 illustrations, each a limited edition of 10–signed by the legendary cartoonist. We had the honor of visiting him in his New York City home, where he’s created pieces for The New Yorker, Life magazine, and numerous other publications. Watch our video to find out why Mort says cartoonists are like oysters and to see inside his creative space. For a behind-the-scenes look into the artist’s inspiration and a peek at each limited edition print, check out some highlights from our chat with Mort below.

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Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jewelry Designer Trudy James

January 31, 2019

Jewelry maker Trudy James in her California studio, photos by Emily Hodges

Trudy James’ gorgeous jewelry designs, like her Nest Egg Necklace and Elephant and Her Little Peanuts Necklace, quickly became some of our bestselling gifts for daughters, mothers, and grandmothers. The artist handcrafts her nature-inspired pieces using high quality material that she’s collected from around the world. I dropped by her workspace in Oceanside, in between Los Angeles and San Diego, to discuss the concepts behind her sentimental pieces–she often celebrates motherhood, gratitude, and love–and to learn about her everyday inspirations. (And, of course, to try on all of her beautiful treasures.)

Trudy includes 1-4 little amazonite eggs to represent your baby birds in her Nest Egg Necklace

Trudy’s workspace is located in her home, in a room 100% dedicated to her craft. Her sweet dog, Layla, greeted me at the front door when I arrived and, alongside Trudy, led me into the well-lit studio. Stacked and organized against the back wall were “in-progress” and “completed” jewelry pieces inside labeled boxes, and her desk space proudly showcased tools and the necklaces she was currently tinkering with. At every corner of the room, I spotted photos of family and friends, travel keepsakes, and…bird’s nests, lots and lots of bird’s nests! Trudy’s space, like her designs, is truly one-of-a-kind. The moment I stepped in I could easily see that she put her entire self into her special oasis to reflect herself and her passions.

I later learned that the nests sprinkled around her studio played as small reminders and tokens of gratitude for the success of her Nest Egg Necklace design–inspiring her to not only focus on her business, but also to keep her creative vision alive. Read on to learn how Trudy came up with the concept for another design hit, how Albert Einstein influences her day-to-day work, and when her creative chaos usually begins!

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Gift Guides

Jewelry to Make Your Valentine Shine

January 25, 2019

Dating five months vs. married five years. A bond built on world travel vs. raising kids together. A love you’ve just discovered vs. one with lots of history. The jewelry here toasts your one-of-a-kind connection. Made with love, each piece celebrates its special sparkle.

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