Design

Wash Your Pet without Getting Drenched (Thanks to the Aquapaw)

May 22, 2017

Have you ever given a dog a bath? She probably squirmed around a bit. OK, that might be an understatement. It’s more likely that that she wouldn’t hold still, splashed around a whole lot, and then did one of those full-body doggy shakes that sent a shower your way. Almost everyone who’s owned a dog has had a similar experience. Product designer Daniel Lentz certainly has, and it got him thinking that there had to be a better way to get our furry friends squeaky clean.

The Aquapaw Dog Bathing Glove lets you keep one hand free to hold your dog’s collar or reach for the pet shampoo, while the other hand wets and scrubs. The whole time your dog is getting the spa treatment, he’s also getting a good petting. It took Daniel years of thinking about the product, piles of prototypes, and some time spent scrubbing dirty pups at a local dog shelter, but now his design is ready to make bath time easier for pet parents and their pets. The Aquapaw is coming soon to our assortment, so we asked Daniel to tell us more about his development process and why he thinks every pet owner should have an Aquapaw.

 

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Gift Guides

20 New Gift Ideas for Father’s Day 2017

May 19, 2017

It’s that time of the year again! You’ve finally found the perfect gift for Mom, and now you can relax your gift-hunting muscles… for about five minutes, lest you leave Dad in the dust. No need to start your search for another tired tie this Father’s Day, though—you’re bound to find something perfect for Pa in this selection of 20 gifts ideal for even the most exacting of the paternal population, be they gardeners, at-home chefs, or even amateur historians. The best part? Everything’s new since last Father’s Day.

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Matt Pugh

May 16, 2017

Matt Pugh Artist - UncommonGoods

As a lifelong artist, it didn’t take too long for Matt Pugh to grow tired of bringing other designers’ ideas to life – eventually, he couldn’t resist the need to create on his own. After a stint as a model maker, Matt decided to take his career into his own hands and began bringing his own original pieces to trade shows, where he started to gain success and recognition.

Matt’s charming designs and his use of sustainable materials in making them stood out to us right away. We’re so glad to have his unique fixtures as new additions to our assortment. Read on to hear from the rural Wiltshire, England artist about where he gets inspiration for his quirky pieces, and what goes into making them.

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The Uncommon Life

Paid Family Leave: Why it Matters

May 12, 2017

You may have seen the Paid Family Leave page in our Mother’s and Father’s Day print catalogs. What “Paid Family Leave” means is this: family members can go on leave from work to take care of a newborn or seriously ill family member for a period of time, while continuing to receive some or all of their usual pay and benefits. The United States doesn’t have a paid family leave policy–we’re one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t, and the only developed country–and we are for changing that. We decided we wanted to advocate for it in our catalog.

 

Source: United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics

We’ve always been a socially conscious company, working to use business as a force for good. But this is the first time we’ve communicated to our customers directly about a specific issue. We’re excited about it and a little nervous. We know not everyone will agree. We’re not trying to tell people what to think. What we’re hoping to do is raise awareness and build resources to take action.

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Maker Stories

Inside the Artists’ Studio with Carrie and Patrick Frost

May 11, 2017

Carrie and Patrick Frost in their Mantua, OH studio, photos by Cassie Tweten Delaney and NéQuana Rollings

“Glass is full of magic,” Patrick Frost told me as he and his wife Carrie began the tour of their Mantua, Ohio home with an introduction to their impressive collection of glass pieces from around the world.

As Patrick carefully handled one of the handmade glass objects, he explained that it was created by a master glassblower he’d trained with years before. The glassblower was very old, but after 60 years practicing his craft, he still loved his art, because he believed in the magic of glass.

Patrick said that he too is enchanted by the way glass moves, interacts with light, and almost mesmerizes. The Frosts continued to tell the stories behind many of the pieces in the collection (which takes up an entire wall and then some in their living room), and it became clear that both Patrick and Carrie are sincerely passionate about every part of the glassmaking process—from the first drops of molten material, through firing and turning and blowing, all the way up to opening the oven and seeing the cooled, finished piece for the first time.

Carrie making the Sham-Rock Glass, check out a video of the this glass getting made here

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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Homemade Kombucha For Beginners

May 5, 2017

Product


Kombucha Jar & Brew Kit

 

Research
Like everyone else, I’ve been aware that kombucha is a Thing. I vaguely knew it was fermented tea, and that much like kefir, which I’ve made, it’s fermented by a SCOBY: a live, Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. “Symbiotic” because they rely on each other: the yeast eats the sugar and puts out carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol; then the bacteria eats the alcohol and puts out amino acids and trace vitamins and minerals. And because of all those beneficial bacteria, it’s probiotic. I wanted to try making it, and as it happens, UncommonGoods sells this handy kit, which includes everything you need to make kombucha except for tea, sugar, and water.

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The Uncommon Life

Material Matters: The Beauty of Brass

May 2, 2017

From prized carousel rings to shiny Sousaphones, brass is a storied substance with many contributions to material culture. This alloy of copper and zinc combined in 60 official formulas has a long history. The Chinese may have made it by accident in the 5th century BCE. They melted down zinc-rich copper ores and—presto—brass. More deliberately, the Greeks and Romans combined the two elements to form brass through a process that remained the industry standard through the late 19th century. Continue Reading…

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