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The Uncommon Life

14 Uncommon (& Surprising) Valentine’s Day Facts

February 9, 2018

Crimson Heart Umbrella
Crimson Heart Umbrella – $32 Buy Now »

 

Valentine’s day is a pretty special day.

Whether you’re lucky in love, celebrate with single friends, or share the day with family members, you likely have something planned for February 14.

But why is the occasion so important? Here are a few fun facts about St. Valentine’s Day.

Beating Heart Bottle Sculpture
Beating Heart in a Bottle Sculpture – $100 Buy Now »

 

Who is this St. Valentine guy, anyway?

Today, the Catholic church actually recognizes three saints by the name of Valentine or Valentinus. Each St. Valentine was martyred.

So, which one is the St. Valentine of St. Valentine’s Day?

Legend has it that the St. Valentine was a priest in Rome during the third century. The emperor at the time, Claudius II, decided that single men made better soldiers, not having their hearts promised to special someones and all. So ol’ Claud outlawed Marriage. Valentine didn’t agree with the emperor’s rule and went around marrying folks anyway. Eventually, Valentine got caught and Claudius sentenced him to death for his defiance.

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Design

Industrial Design Student Hannah Giancola Wins UncommonGoods’
Spring 2018 Scholarship

January 19, 2018

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 last spring.

UncommonGoods Scholarship Winner Hannah Giancola, photos by Will Cornfield

This time around, our scholarship team was wowed by the beauty of winner Hannah Giancola‘s furniture design. We loved the Mid-century modern-inspired look of the table she entered and her story tugged at our heart strings. Hannah, who created the table with her grandmother’s house in mind, received $1,000 to use toward continuing her education at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, where she’s currently enrolled as an industrial design major.

We asked Hannah to share a little more about her career aspirations, her love of design, and how her grandma’s glass table inspired the piece that earned her this award. Check out our Q&A with Hannah below to learn more.

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The Uncommon Life

Why We Keep Marching

January 14, 2018

*Editor’s note 1/19/18: In honor of the anniversary of last year’s Women’s Marches and in celebration of marches taking place across the world in 2018, we’re donating all profits from Keep Marching Necklaces purchased on January 20 and 21, 2018 directly to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti sexual-violence organization.

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, women across the world marched together to protest injustice, lift each other up, and send the powerful message that women’s rights are human rights. Thanks to the combined efforts of millions of people, it was the largest single protest day in US history. From clever signs to a well-rehearsed song, marchers came prepared to fight for equality. As a plethora of pink hats stood out among the signs, songs, and crowds, it became clear that the hat would go down in history as a symbol of female power and unity.

Recognizing that the hat makes a strong statement, our Product Development team decided to incorporate it in a design that celebrates women. The Keep Marching Necklace is a wearable reminder that while there may not be an organized demonstration every day, the march for equality continues.

Keep Marching Necklace | UncommonGoods

The necklace was designed by women who wanted to not only create a beautiful piece, but also develop a product that could make a positive impact. With that in mind, $5 from the sale of each Keep Marching Necklace supports our longtime Better to Give partner RAINN. Since partnering in 2010, we’ve donated over $350,ooo to RAINN–the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization–and hope to grow that amount when you select RAINN at checkout (our $1 donation is at no cost to you) and through givebacks on designs like our Keep Marching and Hope Shines necklaces.

As we approach a series of Women’s Marches planned for January 20 and 21, 2018, we asked the women behind this necklace to share what the pink hat symbol means to them and why they keep marching.

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The Uncommon Life

3 Easy Meal Tips to Please Picky Kids

January 9, 2018

Construction Plate & Utensils | UncommonGoods
Construction Plate & Utensils – $14.95-$17.50 Buy Now »

Your kid has yet to discover that broccoli is delicious and they won’t touch anything that isn’t an unnatural color with a ten-foot fork. It’s going to be OK. While letting your kiddo live on gummy bears and microwaved mac ‘n cheese alone certainly isn’t an option, sneaking some healthy good stuff in their favorite meals is. These tips make breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes healthier, but they’re still completely kid-friendly. Serve up each meal with our Construction Plate & Utensils and your little one might even ask for seconds.

Kid-approved Bake Goods | Breakfast | UncommonGoods

Breakfast: Kid-Approved Baked Goods

As the old saying goes, it’s the “most important meal of the day.” But if that meal is packed with sugar, your kiddo will crash before lunch. Start the day right by replacing the refined sugar in baked goods like mini muffins or waffle bites with a fruity alternative.

  • 1 cup of no-sugar-added applesauce easily replaces 1 cup of white sugar

-or-

  • Mash 3 medium bananas and add a splash of water to get the equivalent of 1 cup of sugar

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Maker Stories

Inside the Artists’ Studios: Visiting 12 Maker Spaces in 2017

December 31, 2017

February 2017 marked five years of UncommonGoods Studio Tours. A lot has happened here at UG since that first visit (with Anna Rabinowicz, whose Agate Coasters are still a customer favorite), but one thing hasn’t changed. Every time I enter a maker’s creative space, I learn something I didn’t know before and gain a new appreciation for their craft. Sometimes I get to physically travel to a studio, sit down and chat with an artist, and watch them work. Every now and then I even get to try my hand at making something. Other times, my experience is like yours. I get to see inside an artist’s studio through the eyes of another excited visitor, who’s taking in a new experience and sharing their own thoughts and feelings.

Our 2017 Studio Tour round-up features the experiences of several team members, including my own visits to New Hampshire, Ohio, and Maryland; our graphic designer’s look inside a Rhode Island jewelry studio; a jewelry buyer’s trip to Boston; our PR & social media manager’s serendipitous stay in Canada; the blog team’s soap making lesson in Newburgh, New York;  and even an adventure across the Atlantic, where our contributing writer met Greek sculptor George Roumanas. And that’s just a start. This year, we traveled more than ever and visited the widest variety of studios yet. It’s always tricky to pick just a few highlights from our Studio Tours, but here’s a shot at it. (Along with links to the full posts, if you’re looking for a serious infusion of inspiration!)

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Gift Guides

16 Literary Gifts for Book Lovers

November 24, 2017


The smell of ink and paper calls to them. They don’t consider a tote bag quite full unless there’s a paperback or an e-reader inside. To them, life is a series of stories. Some call them the literati, bibliophiles, or even bookworms. But, they’re not too concerned about those titles, because they’d rather be browsing the shelves for titles from their favorite authors. That’s right, we’re talking about book lovers. You could pick up a copy of the latest best-seller or a literary classic to stuff in their stocking this year, but chances are they’ve already devoured it, cover to cover. Instead, try one of these selections from our library of great gift ideas that are sure to read well with the well-read.

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Gift Guides

11 Creative Combos to Craft
DIY Gift Baskets

November 20, 2017

We know it’s the little things that count, but sometimes you want to show someone you care big. Putting together a DIY gift basket is a great way to combine an assortment of cool little gifts with a whole lot of love. Creating that gift basket around someone’s hobby, favorite food, or most-loved mythical creature adds another level of personalized charm. We even included gift basket ideas for kids and teens, because we know they can be even harder to shop for than that unicorn lover on your list.

 

Taco Lover

Whether they have a soft spot for soft shells or prefer a crispy crunch, they’ll love these taco-themed goodies.

Tricerataco Holder – $12 | Salsa Grow Kit – $12 | Taco and Hot Pepper Stamp Kit – $12.00 | Trio of Travel-Sized Hot Sauces – $15.00 | Seedsheet Taco Kit – $35.00Taco Socks – $10.00

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The Uncommon Life

37 Enchantingly Uncommon Facts about Unicorns

November 7, 2017

Ever wondered what a Unicorn’s horn is called? Are unicorns real, or is the mighty beast just a myth? How do you catch a unicorn? We rounded up 37 enchanting facts about everyone’s favorite elusive horned horse to make it easy to find everything you’ve ever wanted to know about unicorns in one magical article.

1
The gleaming, magical horn that’s captured our hearts is officially called an alicorn.

2
Alicorn isn’t just the name for a unicorn’s horn. It’s also the name for a horse with wings and one horn.

 

3
While Nessie may still be the Highlands’ most notable mythical creature, the Unicorn is the national animal of Scotland.

 

4
Scots celebrate the majestic equine on National Unicorn Day each April 9.

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