Browsing Tag


Gift Guides

Ten Gifts for the Green-Hearted

November 18, 2010

We asked you what kinds of gifts you were shopping for and we heard green, fair trade, & sustainable. So our gift to you: a guide of the best gifts to give with a conscious this holiday season:

Black Floral Belt: Like a casual treasure discovered in an open market far, far away, this textured statement piece is a brilliant way to add color and craftsmanship to my uniform of jeans and tees. But the best part? It’s hand-embroidered with curly wool thread by Fair Trade artisans in Peru. Plus: Julia Roberts wears one on in Eat, Pray, Love. (Just saying.)

Continue Reading…

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!

Maker Stories

Joseph & Joseph Giveaway

August 6, 2010

Congrats to Lindsay, who said, “My favorite thing to make is hearty fall and winter soups. Potato, vegetable, french onion and cauliflower soup. Warm, filling soup … yummy!” She’s winning a set of Elevate kitchen utensils.

And congrats to Amanda, who won the nesting prep bowls. Her favorite meal is, “kabobs! Yum! So simple! So tasty! So easy!”

Thanks to everyone who left a comment! Remember you can subscribe to the Goods via RSS and get a heads up for all our future contests and giveaways.

Happy Friday everyone! In lieu of our usual Friday Scavenger Hunt and in honor of National Inventors month, we’re giving away a set of elevate kitchen utensils and a set of nesting prep bowls from innovative designers Joseph & Joseph!

To enter is easy. All you have to do is leave a comment telling us what your favorite dish to make is. Make sure to leave your email address and name when you submit a comment (Don’t worry, your email address won’t be public – It’s just so that we can contact you.) Also, leave your twitter name if you have one!

Wait there’s more! If you want to triple your chances, tweet your comment to @uncommongoods and leave a comment under the post on our Facebook wall for up to two additional entries. Everything must be posted before 12 noon ET on Sunday. We’ll announce the lucky winners on Monday.

Happy Friday!

The Uncommon Life

Gift Lab #11: Mindy leaves ’em High & Dry

August 4, 2010

ETA August 2, 2011: Please note, this item is no longer available. We apologize for any inconvenience. If you’re interested in sink accessories, you may also like the Sink Drainer Cutting Board or Spongster.

high and dry dishrack

1) Product Name: High and Dry Dish Rack by Dan Black and Martin Blum.

high and dry dish rack

2) Background Research: I’m a victim of the classic New York apartment sob story: my kitchen is so small, I can barely do anything! With a corner sink – and an awkward space next to it – I’ve had a dish rack dilemma Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

Inventors Month: the Joseph & Joseph Story

August 2, 2010

joseph & joseph

August is National Inventors Month, so to kick things off we interviewed twin brothers Richard and Anthony Joseph – the brains behind a collection of amazingly simple and well-designed kitchen gear. We love how they approach everyday kitchen problems with style, a pop of color and thoughtful design. Almost all of their products make us say, “Why didn’t we think of that?!”

Not only are Richard and Anthony great designers, they are also very generous! They have agreed to donate two of our favorite Joseph & Joseph products, the Nesting Prep Bowls & the Elevate Utensils, to our Uncommon Giveaway! Be sure to come back to the blog on Friday for a chance to win.

And now, on to the exciting interview!

When did you both become interested in design?

Our mother is an architect, and our father had a glass manufacturing business in the UK, so there was a strong creative influence when growing up. We were both quite artistic at school and this led to  Continue Reading…

The Uncommon Life

Gift Lab #3: Joanna Gets Grabby

May 26, 2010
Gift lab

1) Product Name: Grab and Dry Terry Dishtowel Gloves

2) Background Research: The day I was tall enough to reach the kitchen sink, my mother made it my responsibility to wash and dry the dishes. Occasionally, I could use a crisp dollar bill to bribe my little sister to dry, but usually it was a one-woman job and one that I loathed. Fast-forward 10 years and even though I now reside with my boyfriend instead of my mother, I’m still the dish girl. Fun (not so much for me) fact — I’ve actually never lived in a house or apartment with a dishwasher.

3) Hypothesis: I’m making a bet that these dish towel gloves will max out after drying 10 items (a mixture of glasses, plates and bowls).


4) Experiment: While preparing for a house guest to arrive last Monday, I had to quickly get rid of the heap of dishes sitting around my kitchen. Now, unlike most people, I only have a countertop as wide as a cutting board and therefore have create a designated “dish drying area” by placing a towel over the stovetop. It’s a little lumpy, but it does the job. However, it takes a couple of hours for the dishes to dry and I only had 30 minutes. Behold the bright orange dish drying gloves! This time I used the lure of extra Modern Warfare II playing time to bribe my boyfriend to wash so that I could try out the newly acquired cleaning helpers.


5) Results: At first, I was in love. With my little mittens, I could actually keep up with his washing speed! The dishes weren’t as dry as if I had used a towel, but it was good enough for me. Yet, soon enough I realized that while I was removing water, I was actually adding tiny bit of orange material to every dish.

The gloves lasted until about 10-12 items before they became soaking wet. I tossed them over the sink and in a couple of hours they were dry and ready for more action.


Conclusion: 1) For optimum results, take the time to wash the gloves before using them. When I used them the second time to dry a sink full of dishes, the pilling was significantly less frequent. 2) Bribery is always the best policy. 3) While the grab and dry gloves are cute (in a blindingly bright, hunting glove kind of way) and pretty fun to wear, nothing beats a dishwasher.

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