Design

Do We Have A Bullseye?

July 22, 2011

Rachel said: “I LOVE this necklace! Perfect for everyday!”

Handmade by Nancy Nelson, this offbeat take on target practice hits the spot when it comes to quirky style. The hammered sterling silver square is threaded with forest green and hangs from two delicate silver chains.

Do you share Rachel’s enthusiasm for this unique, stylish piece? Share your feedback on the Bullseye Necklace and more fun potential new goods in our community voting app.

Design

Color Ball Kit

July 21, 2011

Color Ball Kit

Jessica said: “This is a wonderful idea and craft project. I know, as a mother of two, kids will enjoy this and have fun telling their friends that they handmade their own tennis ball. The price is very reasonable and teaches a good skill set. I would purchase this product!”

We’re having a ball choosing products for our community voting app, and we hope you’re enjoying sharing your feedback! Up for voting this week, the Color Ball Kit is a fun and easy way to get started felting. Add warm water and soap to the provided wool, then start squishing and watch the fleece turn into colorful felt as it covers the included tennis balls. Would these bouncy balls make a great craft project for your kids? A fun gift for an aspiring juggler? Cute toys for your favorite pooch? Visit our voting app and let us know how you’d use this creative kit.

Gift Guides

Best Dressed Baby

July 21, 2011

We love our new Have-A-Ball Babysuits™ so much, we started thinking about some of the other fun baby goods in our lineup. From old favorites, like the Worth the Wait Set, to new community approved items, like the Baby Fortune Cookie Booties, we have little ones covered from head to toe, whether you’re looking for an adorable outfit for your own bundle of joy or a great baby shower or new baby gift.

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.
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Gift Guides

Top 10 Wedding Gifts

July 19, 2011

With summer well under way, your weekends are probably booked with weddings.  Help the happy couples in your life decorate their new home together with our top 10 wedding gifts!

We broke down the best gifts UncommonGoods has to offer for each of the uncommon couples in your life:

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.
For the high school sweethearts that have been together forever, the Heart in Orbit Album is a beautiful way to preserve memories from prom to proposal.  Each copper-bound photo album is handmade in San Francisco.

Give the newly-wedded new homeowners a pair of beautiful, earthenware nesting wedding bowls inscribed with the couples’ names and wedding date.  Choose from two patterns and five warm colors to welcome them home.

Encourage wanderlust in your favorite pair of travel bugs even after they’ve returned from the honeymoon with our set of 3 continent pillows.  Whether journeying abroad or settling down, they’ll always remember that home is where the heart is.

If the paramours in your life are pet lovers, they’ll love a dog blueprint of their pooch.  Pick from a wide (and growing) selection of breeds to showcase their other best friend.

A cooking couple with a cabinet already stocked with pots and pans will appreciate our brand new steam tower, a simple and healthy way to steam three dishes at once.  Included is an inspirational cookbook to further fuel their foodie fun.

Help the Earth-loving pair begin their new eco-friendly lives together by giving a ceramic countertop compost container.  More elegant than most composting systems, the container is elegant enough to sit atop the counter for easy composting and minimal mess.

Our custom Personalized Tree Plate is perfect for the young at heart.  The simple design is engraved onto recycled glass and can be personalized with two sets of initials and the date of the wedding.

The cozy couple will be delighted by a personalized couple pillow.  Pick from a variety of styles for man, woman, bride, or groom, and mother-daughter artists Mary and Shelly Klein will hand stitch the special design.

Any party-throwing pair will love the rainbow hors d’oeuvres set, a beautiful and creative tool to display appetizers or small bites for special events or simply snacking.

Sports fans and lovers will cheer when they receive a reclaimed gym floor frame, hand crafted from the maple floor of Kendrigan Gym in Ashland, Wisconsin.  The 4×6″ frame is ideal for displaying photos of their big day or memories of past big games.

Take a look at our other wedding gifts for even more giving ideas, or if you’re the lucky ones in love, sign up for our gift registry!

Maker Stories

On the Road with Tina Tangalakis

July 19, 2011

Tina Tangalakis, founder/designer of Della and our new tribal print macbook and iPad cases, and two interns traveled to West Africa this month to work with their team in Hohoe, Ghana. Tina sent us a travel update from the road about her latest adventures:

It has been exactly one week since myself, Jenna and Chelsea left Los Angeles and arrived in Accra. Accra is the capital city and heart of Ghana, being home to over 1.5 million people and the cultural center of the country.

After two long plane rides and barely making it through customs, we immediately ventured into the busy fabric markets. This was quite a feat after 19 hours of travel, but I found it the best way to initiate Jenna and Chelsea into Ghanaian life. After all, if they can survive the heat and chaos of the large outdoor markets they can do anything in this country.

This early venture was exciting and an overload to the senses. In the markets we were surrounded by hundreds of colorful textiles. The bright colors and intricate designs were like candy to the eyes. This day we were given VIP treatment at the distribution center of ATL, one of my favorite Ghanaian fabric companies. There we registered Della as an official ATL distributor, giving us access to a giant warehouse full of fabrics to choose from. In the warehouse we sourced new fabrics for our Spring 2012 collection and gathered inspiration for several new designs.

That evening we traveled to Hohoe, the small town where Della is based. This journey is typically a 3 ½ hour ride from the capital, however, our travels took us on an unexpected detour as our driver pulled over to fix the van’s faulty brake pad. For myself this was typical, as broken down cars are a way of Ghanaian life. Thankfully, my comrades were content as we sat on the side of the road, in the dead of night, waiting for our transportation to be fixed.

Once safely in Hohoe, the rest of our weekend consisted of both business and pleasure. Saturday we had a meeting with our head seamstresses and tailors, brainstorming ways to better organize our workforce and prepare for the influx of holiday orders. Sunday we took a bumpy car ride to the Wli Waterfalls, where we enjoyed a tropical hike and swim under West Africa’s tallest natural waterfall.

The work week has been full of ideas, designs and challenges. We have begun working in our newly constructed workshop, fully equipped with electricity, fans (a necessity here) and new industrial sewing machines. One of the more involved projects has been working on new designs for our future collections.

It is very rewarding to be here, working side by side with the women and seeing the impact it has on their lives.

The entire process of building a socially responsible fashion line is definitely rewarding; yet, everyday we face little challenges which can be greatly compounded by language barriers, cultural differences and American work-ethic that is not understood by our employees, who are used to getting everything complete on “Ghanaian Time.”

But through it all, the growing pains are worth it, as the expansion of Della is an exciting process. And, when challenges arise, no matter how different our two cultures may be, the best remedy is always laughter.

Design

Need a Workplace Distraction?

July 19, 2011

We have plenty of fun projects to keep us occupied here in our office, like finding clever new items for our community voting app. Although we’re busy reading your comments, tallying your votes and answering your questions, we wouldn’t mind taking a few minutes to play 100 Workplace Games & Distractions (in the name of product research, of course!). If you’d love to stash this little tin and the included 100 game cards away in your desk to offer up when your co-workers need a breather from the average 9-5, take a break from business and let us know!

Can’t decide whether this game’s for you? Here’s a sample activity (more can be viewed by clicking on the image under the main picture in our voting app).

Sudden applause: “If you have a co-worker who is fond of a favorite saying or quote, gather together a band of your other co-workers and scheme to all applaud the next time the favorite saying is used. If you’re really brave, you’ll target your boss and his or her favorite phrase.”

Design

Scampering for Unique Game Ideas?

July 17, 2011

Squirrel NutOur community voting app is packed with creatively designed products this week, including the Lightbulb Candlestick Holder, the tool-inspired Hand-Forged Bottle Openers and this Squirrel Nut Stacking Game, which doubles as a funky home or office decor piece when not in play.

Squirrel Nut Game

Could you pile all of the acorns without letting any tumble? Vote and commentto let us know whether you’d like to see this squirrel scurry through the voting process and into our assortment of community approved goods!

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