Gift Guides

Our Summer Favorites Under $50

July 19, 2018

Summer’s the time for fun in the sun, but days at the beach, backyard barbecues, and endless outdoor events can start to get spendy. We’re not about to let dollar signs put a damper on summer celebrations, so we picked a few of our favorite warm-weather finds that cost less than $50.

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The Uncommon Life

New York Times–Women Making History: Meet Susan Chira

July 17, 2018

We teamed up with the New York Times to create a book that celebrates those who dared to stand for equal rights through a collection of articles covering more than 150 years. New York Times–Women Making History features an introduction by Susan Chira, a senior correspondent and editor on gender issues. She has also served as deputy executive editor, overseeing The Times’ daily news report, and as foreign editor. She was part of the team that won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for public service for coverage of workplace sexual harassment issues.

Susan Chira, photo by Earl Wilson

 

Maker Stories

Inside the Artists’ Studio with Jewelry Makers Cameron and Rebecca Stern

July 10, 2018

Rebecca and Cameron Stern in their Red Hook, Brooklyn, studio

I’ve talked to several creative people who have distinct memories of watching Mr. Rogers show us how crayons are made, so it didn’t surprise me when jewelry designer Rebecca Stern mentioned being inspired by the great Fred Rogers’ televised visits to interesting factories, where he gave curious kids a look behind the scenes. I even felt a little like I was in one of those videos when I visited Rebecca and her husband (and business partner) in their Red Hook, Brooklyn, studio. Their space is filled with tiny bits of inspiration, interesting models and miniatures, and plans to make their next imaginative designs.

If you’re one of those folks who remembers feeling a sense of wonder as you watched wax pour into metal molds as a kid, I think you’d feel the same way within the walls of the Sterns’ space. From watching images on Cameron’s computer screen materialize in the 3D printer, to trying to figure out how they get their detailed dioramas so darn small, to listening to stories of family explorations and adventures, every moment in the studio left me a little more intrigued than the last. Rebecca even made a few pieces while we were there. Watch our video below to see our own version of How It’s Made, then keep reading to learn how science influences the couple’s work, why they’ll never stop experimenting, and what it looks like when you put two very tiny giraffes in an Erlenmeyer flask.

Check out our video to see how the Sterns make their Sprinkles Heart Necklace and  Sprinkle Heart Stud Earrings

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Gift Guides

The Essential Guide to Anniversary Gifts By Year

June 22, 2018

Whether it is the celebration of something fresh or the commemoration of an enduring bond, anniversary gifts by the year help acknowledge the most important moments in marriage.

Over the long history of giving, a number of themes have emerged that define the most suitable offerings for each passing year. Drawing inspiration from this well-spring ensures you get the sentiment right without losing a wink of sleep worrying what to get.

So do yourself a favor and scroll through our essential guide to help you evoke the most fitting symbolism at the appropriate stage of your loved ones life.

Anniversary Gifts by Year

A Year of Gratitude Anniversary box set
A Year of Gratitude – $30 Buy Now »

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The Uncommon Life

Better to Give: Stand with Refugees

June 19, 2018

June 20 marks World Refugee Day, a global movement to shed light on the resilience and strength of people who have escaped conflict and are rebuilding their lives. We’re proud to support our longtime partner the International Rescue Committee in standing with the most vulnerable around the world.

Refugee resettlement in the US is at an all-time low. With over 65 million people displaced in the world, the need to support refugees is more urgent now than ever. Watch the video below for practical ways you can make a difference for refugees in the US right now. Find out how you can get involved by visiting www.rescue.org/worldrefugeeday

Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Screen-Free Kid Fun with Flipbooks and a Castakite

June 14, 2018

 

Products
Flipbook Kit (T. Rex/Pteranodon version)
Castakite

Research
I was once a child. Isn’t that enough? OK, no.

I was planning a Mexican beach vacation with my mother, my brother, and his five year-old son, “The Chooch.” Like most kids, The Chooch is addicted to screens of all sizes. We wanted to get him away from them. His dad and I chose these two toys for our experiment in behavior modification.

Hypothesis
The Chooch will have a blast with these. More importantly for us, he’ll be distracted from his tablet for a significant amount of time.

Part I: Flipbook Kit

Boy and Flipbook. Initial response: positive. (Note experiment-appropriate lab wear.)

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Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio
with Mushroom Lamp Creator
Danielle Trofe

June 4, 2018
Inside the Artist's Studio with Danielle Trofe | UncommonGoods

Danielle in her studio, photos by Theresa Hensley

Industry City is a strange place. Just one stop north of our headquarters in the historic Brooklyn Army Terminal, it’s the closest thing New York has to an office park: a 40-acre expanse of old warehouses filled with artists’ studios, chocolate factories, and cafes where a cup of coffee could set you back a cool $14.75 (yes, really). Somewhere in those six million square feet of space, designer Danielle Trofe is hard at work. Or at least we imagine she is. She certainly was when we arrived to tour her studio, a sunlit space filled with pothos and other plants and objects made from her signature material, mycelium.

Inside the Artist's Studio with Danielle Trofe | UncommonGoods

If you’re browsing our blog and you’ve heard the word “mycelium” before, chances are you already know that Danielle is the creator of the Mushroom Lamp, an eco-friendly answer to high-end lighting. If you haven’t, you might be interested to know that Danielle’s lamp is made with a shade grown—yes, grown—from mushrooms’ roots and a base handcrafted with salvaged ash wood. It’s sleek, sophisticated, and makes planet Earth happy, too. But of course, it’s not the only thing Danielle makes. In her studio, you’ll find everything from hanging lamps shaped by hand over time to a large sign that says “grow” in playful cursive script. And that one word kinda sums it up, doesn’t it? Danielle’s a designer whose objects really, truly grow, changing shape, size, and texture over time until they’re juuuust right.

The Mushroom Lamp | UncommonGoods

The Mushroom Lamp | UncommonGoods

On a gorgeous, unseasonably balmy May day, we visited Danielle in Industry City and asked all about the stuff she makes—whether it’s safe for folks with mushroom allergies (yes), whether it’ll fall apart if you get water on it (not right away, but don’t pour water on a lamp, please), whether you can eat it (technically you could, but again, please don’t), and more. Read on for our full Q&A, plus more photos of Danielle’s stunning space.

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