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The Uncommon Life

Why WindowDry? #Giveaway

October 6, 2010

For the sake of Janice Jacoby’s house guests, we’re giving her the first WindowDry rack in our giveaway:

“I line dry as much as possible but here in Florida we have so many unexpected thunderstorms it is hard to do for much of the year. I actually have a line stretched across my porch that has almost strangled unsuspecting visitors! I sure would love this and so would my company.”

Stay tuned— we’ll be giving away two more WindowDry racks later this week with some more info about how to join the line-drying movement with our friends at Project Laundry List.


Made just outside of Seattle, the WindowDry rack is a great solution for urban line-dryers or clothesline aficionados caught in rainy weather. The rack folds up easily when not in use, and can be hung in a shower, on a window, or on tile walls.

How did the WindowDry rack come about?

Laura Bridenbeck says, “We live in Seattle where the climate is wet, so our drying happens mostly indoors. Brent developed the Windowdry rack out of necessity because the large, bulky rack I was using was continually being knocked down by our 90 pound golden retriever and 4-year-old daughter. He decided to build a rack that could be mounted up and out of the way yet be near or on a window.”

But does one small rack hold a full load of laundry?

“One of the first questions people ask after seeing this rack is how much weight does it support using suction cups? It supports over 25 pounds (average load of wet laundry weighs 11 lbs)and we have even tested it with our 36 pound daughter!”

Today we’re giving away one WindowDry rack to a lucky reader who’s ready to make the switch to line drying. Just leave a comment below, and let us know why you want to be a line-dryer. Winner announced at 6 pm ET today.

Maker Stories

Friday Giveaway: Rainy Showers Bring Fall Flowers

October 1, 2010

Congrats to our winner Keri Butler. Hope you all had relaxing weekends! Be sure to subscribe to the Goods via RSS, to get the heads up about our next giveaways and contests!


It’s been raining here in Brooklyn all week. I don’t know about you, but I sure need a pick-me-up!

Luckily this week we’re giving away one of artist Jenn Bell’s Pansy or Echinacea Wall Hangings— made of copper, glass, and enamel, and a sure to keep the flowers blooming year round.

I talked to Jenn for a few minutes this week about how she creates creates her handmade pieces.

“There are daily accidents that turn out to be gorgeous,” says Jenn of her creative process.

What does she mean by that?

“… As I’ve grown up I’ve realized that you have no idea where each day is going to take you and rolling with the punches makes everything better. I’m incredibly hard on myself, so I have pieces all over my shop that I have deemed unacceptable. Friends come over and just randomly point and say, “I like that one.” So I take it to a show and someone else likes it. Sometimes making art seems to be this balance of listening to your gut and ignoring it all at the same time.”

Here’s Jenn at work in her studio.

And the lesson this week is that it’s quite alright to give yourself a break every now and then.

Leave a comment below to win one of Jenn’s beautiful handmade wall hangings, and let us know what you’re doing this weekend to give yourself a break.

As always, you can leave a comment on our Facebook wall, or tweet @uncommongoods to triple your chances to win.

Maker Stories

Friday Giveaway: Wax Seal Necklace

September 17, 2010

Thanks to everyone who shared your stories about the loved ones in your lives. And congrats to Sarah Solducky, who will be sending her holiday cards with a special seal this year.

Stay tuned for more giveaways by subscribing to theGoods.


This week we’re honored to give away one of Tania Condon’s elegant sterling silver wax seal necklaces, that she will custom engrave for one lucky winner.

And this week, you have the chance to win one, custom made. Your sterling silver wax seal necklace comes with a tiny tag that you can have engraved with the initials of a loved one and a date to mark a special day in your heart. Your pendant also comes with your choice of initial and a block of wax, so you seal your letters with a personal touch.

Tania Condon’s son Julian is the main inspiration for her pieces, including the sterling silver wax seal necklace, available custom-made for $95. After the birth of her son, Tania took up metalsmithing in order to make a bracelet for her newborn baby. She learned first at classes at a college in San Diego and then with the help of other masters in the trade. Using the design of a wax fob she saw in a British Museum, she came up with the idea of the pendant.

Tania says, “I love writing letters and sending them via snail mail and I seal them with a wax seal of the letter T. Sometimes I get carried away and even use the wax seal for my bills!”

Want to win? You know what to do! Leave a comment below telling us what special event or person you might commemorate with a sterling silver wax seal necklace. Then leave a comment on our Facebook wall, and tweet @uncommongoods on Twitter to triple your chances. We’ll announce the random winner on Monday.

Maker Stories

Friday Giveaway: Hand-Forged Kitchen Tools

September 10, 2010

ETA 10:26 AM, Sept. 13: Hope everyone had a great weekend!  Congratulations to Jennifer, our latest Friday giveaway winner. Her favorite pizza topping is the garlic dipping sauce– which is a great answer for almost every slice.

Stay tuned for future giveaways by subscribing to The Goods via RSS.


This week’s giveaway comes with a really awesome story.

After 20 years of working in a high-production industry, Al Stephens decided to become a blacksmith. He visited Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site in Illinois, and soon became a volunteer in the 19th century blacksmith shop where they had bellows, a coal forge, anvil, and vise. For the next few years, Al developed his skills by working with other blacksmiths who taught him the trade.

And by 2000, he and his wife Sylvia had started their own blacksmith shop. Today Al makes items like the pizza cutter and cheese slicer by hand, in his shop in rural northern Alabama.

Impressed? We certainly are!

This week we’re giving away two hand-forged kitchen tools available on our site– a cheese slicer and a pizza cutter— to one lucky reader.

Want to win? You know what to do! Leave a comment below telling us about your favorite pizza topping or type of cheese. Then leave a comment on our Facebook wall, and tweet @uncommongoods on Twitter to triple your chances.  We’ll announce the random winner on Monday.

Want to learn more about the art of forging metal? Al Stephens suggests you go out there and try it! The Artist Blacksmith’s Association of North America has local affiliates all over the country. Find a group near you and attend the regular meetings. Al says, “One-on-one teaching is an excellent way to learn, hands-on style.”

And it certainly paid off for him!  Happy Friday, everybody!

Gift Guides

Friday Giveaway: Fall Accessories

September 3, 2010

ETA Tues 10:35 AM: Congrats to Mandy who told us, “I’m spending a few days with mom then hopefully heading to Kingsland, GA for the catfish festival!” She’s the winner of the sari scarf.

And Deanne Ross: “Oktoberfesting & heading to the shore this Labor Day weekend!” She’s won a bike tread belt and letter press money clip.

Hope everyone had great holiday weekends! Stay tuned for future giveaways by subscribing to the Goods via RSS.


Is it already Labor Day weekend?  On Wednesday, an NYC transit operator reminded folks in my subway car that there were still 22 days of summer left, but it’s hard to not be thinking about the start of fall, especially with Hurricane Earl set to bring all this rainy weather.

So this week we’re giving away two separate gifts that are perfect accessories for the changing seasons.

The sari scarf ($45) comes in cinnamon or turquoise/lavender and is perfect for that time of year when it gets a bit chilly in the early mornings and late nights, but it still feels like summer during the day. Upcycled from vintage saris in India, this gorgeous scarf is a patchwork of rich, warm-colored pieces of luxurious silk.

And we’re also giving away a set of a bike tread belt, handmade in Portland, Oregon from recycled rubber road or hybrid bicycle tires, and a letter press money clip, handmade in Seattle and inspired by antique letterpress publishing. Both are great items to take out of town on your last long weekend of the summer,  or for Tuesday morning when you’re back at work.

Leave a comment below to enter, and let us know what you’re doing for Labor Day weekend.  Then triple your chances to win by tweeting and leaving a comment on our Facebook wall.

We’ll announce two random winners on Monday morning.  Feel free to let us know which giveaway prize you’d prefer– we’ll try to take it into account!

Happy Friday!

ETA 2:11 PM: Whoops! I forgot that we have Monday off. How about you all get an extra day to enter, and I’ll announce the winners on Tuesday!