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Design

Bike Lovers Design Challenge Call for Entries

September 12, 2012


We are hosting a call for entries for our newest and most exciting design challenge, the Bike Lovers Design Challenge, until September 15th at midnight. Send us your jewelry, accessories, gadgets, doo-dads and gizmos that could make their way into the hearts of any cycling enthusiast or weekend cruiser.

If you have a product that is geared towards our latest challenge, check out the full contest rules and submit your designs here!

Maker Stories

Meet Kim Jakum, Jewelry Design Challenge Winner

August 17, 2012

Each and every design challenge gives us the exciting opportunity to meet up-and-coming artists, reconnect with our favorite designers, and open our eyes to new and unique works of art. Coming off the success of the 2011 Jewelry Design Challenge, we simply could not wait to hold another call for jewelry entries. This year’s Jewelry Design Challenge brought in over 100 entries and showcased the unique designs of artists, jewelry designers, and metalworkers.

Our judges worked through designs with bold patterns, fascinating stories, and unique mediums. They decided on pieces they thought would capture America’s eye with their delicate beauty and others with their intricate detail. But there was one piece that the judges couldn’t take their eyes off of; they loved its concept as a keepsake to keep those you treasure close.


We simply can’t stop talking about the craftsmanship and attention to detail of Personalized Child Signature Necklace and are excited to introduce you to the designer, our Jewelry Design Challenge winner, Kim Jakum of Wisconsin. Kim thrives on designing one-of-a-kind pieces with her recently found love of PMC (precious metal clay) and she will soon be able to see those one-of-a-kind pieces being cherished by people all across the country. Here she is, Kim, the newest member to our Uncommon Artists family.

When and how did you discover jewelry design?

I’ve been making jewelry for over 20 years. I first started making jewelry by just stringing beads. I was drawn to all the different shapes and colors. To this day, I’m still drawn to beautiful stones and the sparkle of crystal.

What is your favorite piece of jewelry?

My favorite piece of jewelry that I have made is my Tiger Maple and Fine Silver Cuff.

How did you realize that metalworking was your passion?

My work is primarily in PMC (precious metal clay). I love that it is made from recycled silver. About 16 years ago, while taking a traditional metal smith class, PMC was first introduced in the USA. The whole class got some and played with it. I didn’t really like it at the time, and didn’t give it any thought until about five years ago when I took a workshop just using PMC. I fell in love with it, and have not looked back since! The possibilities are endless…

What are your favorite pieces to design?

Besides the children’s signatures, I also take kids artwork, shrink it down and transfer it to fine silver pendants and key chains. I love that this makes an everlasting keepsake.

I have also recently been accepted into The Artisan Group. The Artisan Group is made up of small business artisans that gift celebrities with samples of their work. I’m having a great time designing jewelry for specific celebrities.

All in all, you could say that a lot of my work is very personalized, made specifically for the person receiving it.

How do you keep yourself inspired?

I have been fortunate to take workshops from fellow jewelry artists who’s work I really admire. I find these workshops very inspiring, pushing me to continually learn a new skill and perfect what I already know.

How else do you express your creativity?

I like to pass what I know on, so I teach classes in jewelry making and PMC.

Also, if I see something I like in another medium, I usually think I can make something close to it myself, so there are a lot more projects other that jewelry making going on!

What attracted you to the UncommonGoods Jewelry Design Challenge?

I actually found out about this challenge from a fellow Artisan Group member and entered it on a whim.

What was the inspiration behind Personalized Child Signature Necklace?

The signatures on my Personalized Child Signature Necklace sample are actually my grand children’s. I have seen a lot of stamped name pendants and thought I could take that idea to a whole new level by using actual signatures! I also added a twist by texturing the back, so the necklace is reversible.

Do you have any advice for someone interested in taking part in a future challenge?

Just enter! Until this year I have NEVER entered a challenge or competition. I have entered four different challenges this year and have placed first, second or third in three of them!

The Uncommon Life

How to Style Agate Centerpieces

June 11, 2012

Whether you are throwing a backyard dinner party or planning a wedding, centerpiece ideas are sometimes a daunting task. They are the focal point of your sit-down meal and can really bring a room together if they are styled right. Although the Agate Cheese Platters are great for serving up snack, they are also versatile and could fit into a number of decor schemes. On the bottom of each platter are three rubber bumpers which creates a nice platform. The jewel-tone platters also have a natural shiny finish so they will glow in the dim light of a party.

I was interested in seeing how the Agate Cheese Platters would work in a centerpiece design, I took them home, put my decorating hands to work and came up with three different ways to style them.

CRAFTY
Some of the cutest centerpiece ideas out there are composed of found items. Make your centerpieces personal with a craft touch. Create a small penant banner with washi tape and neon twine and string it between two tall sticks. I used wooden knitting needles but another great option are painted twigs. Personalize a mason jar by wrapping it in colored yarn or twine. Lastly, I pulled some guitar picks and a harmonica from our collection to add some personality to this table decoration.

CHIC
These eggplant platter just scream glamour to me so I wanted to see a sleeker look. I pulled out some crystal and glass candle holders that would reflect nicely when the lights get low. Around the platter, I sprinkled some white flower petals to soften the entire look. I only wish it was dark enough to test the glow of the platter in candlelight but was pleased to see the reflection of the crystal on the platter.

RUSTIC
I thought it would be an interesting contrast to add some rustic charm to the polished platters so I started with an old honey jar of white flowers tied with natural twine. I set the jar in a bed of dried moss from the craft store and scattered small twigs and stones. I was so happy with the little enchanted forest I created.

The Uncommon Life

DIY Bridal Survival Kit

June 8, 2012

Hello Uncommon Goods blog readers! I’m Laura from A Girl Who Makes. I am here to share an easy yet necessary wedding day survival kit with you. Wedding days are memorable and can also be hectic. A survival kit for brides and/or bridesmaids will be a helpful gift to keep everyone calm and prepared. I’ve put together a little survival kit of some much needed essentials, but these kits can be customized easily by the contents put in the box.

MATERIALS: Gift Tag Stamp Set, twine or string, hole punch, card stock, scissors, and a box to hold items for the kit.

STEP 1: Fill the box with the chosen essentials. I included tissues, stain remover, cotton swabs, mints, bandages and some lip gloss.

STEP 2: Using the stamp set, ink the stamp and press it onto the card stock, making sure to have full coverage on the stamp. Press evenly when the stamp is on the ink pad as well as when the stamp is on the card stock. When lifting the stamp, be sure to lift straight up so you don’t smudge the paper.

STEP 3: Trim the gift tag using scissors to the size you would like. Also using a hole punch, make a hole in the tag as well.

STEP 4: Using the pencil from the Gift Tag Stamp Set, fill out the tag.

STEP 5: Take a piece of twine or string that measures about 1 yard and wrap it around the box several times. String the tag onto the twine and tie in a bow to complete the box.

Design

Hit the Road in Style with Vintage Key Rings

November 5, 2010

Ever wanted to own a classic car? We sure have, so we set out to find a way to give you a piece of the most iconic classic cars, without having to break your bank. Here’s the story behind our vintage Mustang and Thunderbird key rings.

We decided upon two favorite vintage autos: the first generation Ford Mustang (1964-1973) and the third generation Ford Thunderbird (1961 – 1963).

Continue Reading…

Gift Guides

Gift Analysis: The Urban Foodie

June 29, 2010

If you’re brainstorming a birthday gift for a foodie, I strongly recommend squashing the urge to take them out to dinner. But they live for foie gras! I hear you. If they’re anything like my brother–a seasoned eater who fist-bumps up-and-coming chefs on a weekly basis (I’m looking at you, Marc Forgione)–chances are they’ve been there, tasted that. They’re the original picky eaters. How many times have they shooed away an entree, waving it back to a restaurant’s kitchen as you nervously twitch towards the water boy? If you’re quietly counting, they pass the taste test.

A foodie, not unlike a bargain hunter, lives for the thrill of discovery. Hand them what they didn’t hunt on a silver platter, and half the flavor’s gone–figuratively speaking. Unless you’re treating them to a five course tasting menu, here’s an idea for an unexpected gift: the Mobile Foodie Survival Kit. Your wallet–and five-star friend–will thank you.

Mobile Foodie Kit

This little pack gets so many things right: It’s portable, chic and chock full of organic spices. A case of bland chicken? Shake a leg with garlic powder! Wimpy hot wings? Tabasco to the rescue! Sandwich falls flat? Salt, pepper and basil–stat! How do they love you? Let them count the herbs, spices and ways you’ll make their day.

I gifted this at a pub gathering two weeks ago. Sitting at a sticky table of friends glued to the screen of a World Cup game, pints and painted faces cresting with anticipation, I tapped Chris on the shoulder and handed over the tin. His eyes scanned: Mobile. Foodie. Survival. And before he read another line his fingers broke into the tin like a third grade birthday boy. “Powdered ginger! Wasabi! Onion powder, ooh.” The tinkering continued, and I left, satisfied that my gift was cool enough to tear him from a high-stakes soccer game. Mission accomplished.

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