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Everyone’s Talking About our Art Contest

April 13, 2012

If you haven’t entered our Wall Art Design Challenge yet, there’s still 2 more weeks to enter!

Chris Olson of Momathon Blog says, “Now is the perfect time to enter your original artwork.”

The Shillington Design School thinks it’s a great opportunity for students.

The Harlem Arts Alliance encourages New Yorkers to apply.

Megan Patrick from How Design did a round up of her favorite art and encouraged all creative types to enter.

And our guest judge, James Gulliver Hancock tweeted, feel like making some wall art? enter here – http://www.uncommongoods.com/designs/art-contest and I’ll decide if it’s good enough 🙂

So what are you waiting for? We’re accepting any work you already have in your portfolio, and you could win $500, see your work sold as a limited edition print at UncommonGoods, get a one-on-one critique with our guest judges and more.

We can’t wait to see your artwork!

The Uncommon Life

Warm Spring Salad with Potatoes and Green Beans

April 12, 2012

Whitney Porter, blogger at Throwing Cake, offered up this spring salad recipe that had us emptying our bowls and going back for seconds.

There are some things, like sandwiches and salads, that you think you should be able to create without a recipe. But then something so great happens that you need to share it with the world, and next thing you know, you’re passing a salad recipe out to everyone who will listen to you.

Add an awesome new serving dish from UncommonGoods to the mix and I was ready to show off something new.

Meet my warm salad recipe. For those who think a warm salad sounds odd, prepare to have your mind blown. Sauteing your ingredients together not only creates the base of a hearty salad, but also forms the dressing to bind it all together. I have done this recipe with steak and without, and as a friend put it “it’s an explosion of flavors.”

Not only it is amazing, but it was pretty amazing looking in the wheelbarrow. It was solid, super cute, made the salad look better then normal, and it gave my roommate and I great joy as we wheeled it around the dining room table. A whole to meaning to, “please pass the salad.”

Warm Spring Salad
served 4-6 people

1 c. shallots, diced
12 oz. haricot verts (french style green beans)
12 fingerling potatoes, sliced
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/3 c white wine
salt and pepper, to taste
drizzle of balsamic vinegar

for the salad
1/2 lb of mixed baby greens
3 radishes, thinly sliced
1/4 c. blue cheese, crumbled

Pour 3 tbsp of olive into a large skillet and saute the shallots and potatoes. When they are almost complete, add green beans and white wine and allow to simmer until the green beans are cooked, but still crisp. Salt and pepper to taste. When the mixture is complete, drizzle approximately 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar over the top and let rest while you prepare the salad base.

In a large bowl (or in my case an awesome wheelbarrow), toss the mixed greens, radishes and blue cheese together.

Take the warm mixture from the skillet and pour over the lettuce mixture. Toss and serve.

** tip: I precook the potatoes in the microwave to make the process go a bit faster. Just place the sliced potatoes in the microwave and cook until fork tender.

Maker Stories

Building a Totem Necklace with Ana Sheldon

April 9, 2012


Ana Sheldon is the artist behind the Custom Totem Necklace, a collection of stones that is intended to be a play on physical and spiritual balance. Each necklace is unique with a set of hand-picked stones that represent different qualities. Creating a Totem Necklace for yourself or a loved one is a special and personal process so I asked Ana to share her inspiration behind the piece and how she would create a Totem Necklace for the women in her life.

How did the Totem Necklace come about?

Totem was one of my first designs. Really Totem is just about using different shapes and colors stacked up together to create a visually pleasing composition. I wanted to create a cool way to wear a “stack” of beads that I liked to look at together.

Erin, the UncommonGoods head jewelry buyer, saw Totem on a website and approached me with the idea of doing custom pieces with meanings. I chose some stones that I work with often and did the research on what they mean. I hope when people wear a Totem that they have created or someone has created for them that they remember what it represents. To have something that reminds someone of their strengths or that a friend believes in them is a powerful thing.

What stones would you choose when building a Totem Necklace for the women in your life?

If I were to create a Totem Necklace for my sister Rene, I would choose Amethyst for clarity and Blue Lace Agate for calming. She has a lot going on in her life-hectic career, active family, and many people who depend on her-so clarity for her in her day to day and a sense of calm at the end of the day. Rene has a great way of accepting an unavoidable obstacle and being proactive in creating a solution without wallowing in it so I would add Apatite for acceptance and Onyx for strength. Rene is also an artist so I would choose Picture Jasper for creativity.


Ana and Rene in center

For my mom I would choose Moonstone for emotional balance. She is always striving for balance in all aspects of her life and I admire that. Rose Quartz is for love and my mom shows me unconditional love always. I would add Amazonite for hope because she has a positive outlook on what could come to be in every situation. Garnet is for devotion. I appreciate how devoted she is to me and my husband and kids. She would do anything for us and it is apparent. Last I would add Green Adventurine for confidence. I would hope it would bring my mom the knowledge of all the great qualities that I listed above!

Anna and her mom

Lastly, for myself I would choose Picture Jasper for creativity, Yellow Jade for inner peace and Green Adventurine for confidence. Being a wife, mom, artist and small business owner I can use all the focus in the world so White Jade would be useful. That being said, I am living a life that I love so I would add Ocean Jasper for appreciation.