Browsing Tag


Maker Stories

Christine Schmidt’s Mismatched Earrings & Peculiar Pet Pendants

August 22, 2016

Christine Schmidt in her San Francisco Studio | UncommonGoods

Christine Schmidt is a jewelry artist, printmaker, designer, illustrator, author, and fraternal twin. She says that maybe that last one influenced her decision to veer from convention and create her clever, quirky mismatched earrings: “I am myself different but a part of a unit. I’ll spare you the therapy–but I like to change it up.”

Here at UncommonGoods, we like to change it up too, and that’s why when we saw some of Christine’s mismatched designs, we couldn’t wait to work with her to create more canny combos.

We thought about a few of the interests our customers (and even many of the folks that work here) share, and worked with the artist on a new line celebrating books, space, and pets. Christine captured each of these concepts through her charming illustrations, turned them into brand new mismatched earrings, and even designed adorable cat and dog necklaces exclusively for UncommonGoods.

She took some time out from being a multi-talented super artist to tell us about her road to a creative career, her process, and working with our team.

Christine Schmidt's Mismatched Earrings | Exclusively at UncommonGoods

Books and Eyeglasses, Sun and Moon, and Cat and Dog Mismatched Earrings | Exclusively at UncommonGoods

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Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: What Do You Give the Cosmonaut Who Has Everything?

June 6, 2016

23414_060616Some Father’s Day gifts fall squarely in the category of “you shouldn’t have” (we’re looking at you, football-shaped TV remote from the mall). But some gifts for dad are truly stellar. Take for example the talking picture frame presented to cosmonaut Yuri Usachev in 2001. A gift from his daughter back on earth, the state-of-the-art frame made its odyssey from earth to the International Space Station thanks to Radio Shack, which filmed the presentation for a commercial. Guess Moscow’s department stores were fresh out of “My Dad’s Out of This World” mugs.

Outer Space Sand Art | $110

Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: Can it Rain Diamonds?

November 29, 2015

Rough Diamond Solitaire Ring | UncommonGoods

If you happen to be on Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, or Neptune, it sure can! Not that anyone has actually been able to observe this amazing phenomenon first hand, but planetary scientists think it’s likely that the gas giants of our solar system feature showers of diamonds along with their other amazing meteorological phenomena. The vast, gaseous spheres of these planets are plentiful in methane and other hydrocarbons. Epic lightning storms turn the methane into concentrations of carbon, which becomes graphite—and then diamond—as it falls through the crushing pressures of the gas giants’ atmospheres. What happens to these showers of Liz Taylor’s dreams? On colder planets like Neptune, they may pile up on the solid surface of the core (if it has one), but on hot giants like Jupiter, they may liquefy toward the core into lakes or seas of amorphous diamond. As the crew of Firefly might say: shiny!

Rough Diamond Solitaire Ring | $695

Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: What Makes a Planet ‘Just Right?

August 17, 2015


Back in the 1970s, when the search for planets outside our solar system (exoplanets) was little more than a fairy tale, astronomers surmised that Earth was the only spot in our stellar neighborhood where conditions were conducive to life—not so close to the sun that life was too hot to handle, nor so far away that life was given the permanent cold shoulder. Earth’s orbit allowed for abundant liquid water, a key ingredient for the development of life as we know it. Showing their whimsical side, those 70s scientists named this habitable zone the “Goldilocks Zone,” after the little girl who sampled the three bears’ porridge and settled on the bowl that was just right. Officially, this sweet spot of planetary hospitality is called the Circumstellar Habitable Zone, or CHZ, but Goldilocks provided a cuter and more memorable nickname.

Now that the discovery of exoplanets is in full swing, worlds in the Goldilocks Zone of other stars tend to get the most publicity, as they’re most likely to support extraterrestrial life, whether its alien bacteria or little green men. Meanwhile, discoveries here on Earth have us re-thinking the boundaries of the Goldilocks Zone itself. From microbes that flourish under Arctic ice to organisms that hang out in the scalding hot, total darkness around ocean floor volcanic vents, life can exist in places that finicky Goldilocks would have avoided altogether. For that matter, a tiny “bear” has got them all beat: the tardigrade, or “water bear.” Along with surviving in solid ice or boiling water, tardigrades can tolerate cosmic rays and the vacuum of space—conditions way outside of Goldilocks’ comfort zone. These tough little troopers prove that life is far more tolerant than the three bears’ high-maintenance home invader.

A New Day | $40.00

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Aquiles Nunez

July 25, 2015


Aquiles Nunez, Drop Ship Supervisor

My hometown is…

Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way.

I’m inspired by…

I am inspired by kind-heartedness, my wife, my kids, family, and the Almighty.

The word or phrase that best describes me…


The best luck I’ve had in my life so far was…

I’ve got a Golden Ticket!  In the 6th grade, I won a 1 week all expenses paid trip to Disney World by means of a raffle ticket.

If I could throw the perfect party…

Everyone’s invited!

Time: A quarter to space

Dress code: NASA spacesuit with slippers

Location: Andromeda Galaxy

The best gift I’ve ever received is…

A typewriter. My parents couldn’t afford a computer at the time and my teachers were requesting typed up essays.  My mother asked me to write a letter to Santa, which I did.  I felt reluctant asking Santa for a computer since they were so expensive so my alternative was a typewriter.  I explained to him that I really needed it for school. That Christmas, I opened my gift which was massive and weighty and there it was– my very own typewriter.  I cannot count the number of essays I typed up using that ol’ thing.  Years later it all added up and to this very moment it has been my most memorable gift.

In other galaxies, I believe there are…

Human / Na’vi hybrids, called Avatars.

An uncommon fact about me…

My new pastime is Astrophotography.

Maker Stories

Ali Bennaim and Ximena Chouza: Out-of-this World Fashion

March 17, 2015

Inspired and entranced by the breathtaking splendor of outer space, Ali Bennaim and Ximena Chouza bring the marvels of the universe down to Earth in the form of interstellar accessories. The makers met while attending Parsons the New School for Design in New York and bonded over their captivation with the cosmos and their passion for fashion. Although Ali is from Caracas, Venezuela, and Ximena is from Mexico City, after graduating they set up shop in Brooklyn where they design unique textiles that take their cues from the majesty and mystery of the universe.

Ali Bennaim and Ximena Chouza | UncommonGoods

The self-proclaimed “space-crazed” duo explore the vast archive of images captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. This invaluable astronomical tool orbits outside the distortion of Earth’s atmosphere, capturing high-resolution photographs that have led to many breakthroughs in astrophysics. Some of these luminous shots, such as the phases of the moon, were snapped close to home, while others that capture stellar celestial bodies and vast networks of gas clouds thousands of light years away offer us a deep view into space and time.

Hubble Telescope Milky Way Scarf | UncommonGoods

 Hubble Telescope Milky Way Scarf


Ali and Ximena say that working with these incredible views of space is the most rewarding part of their process. “These are very special and beautiful images and we are grateful to be able to work with them,” they say. After preparing the photographs digitally for printing, the designers apply the imagery to feather-light wool gauze scarves that are cut and finished by hand.

The starry-eyed pair is committed to sourcing their materials and producing everything in their home base of the Big Apple. “We always make sure that our materials are of the best quality we can get,” they say. “Most people are very impressed by the quality and vibrancy of our prints.”

Designing the Milkyway Scarf

Though they may have lofty ambitions, they also say that they’ll never forget their earthly beginnings and aim to remain environmentally conscious. They employ a waste-saving technique, carefully designing every accessory to make the most of every inch of fabric, leaving next to nothing for the landfill.