Browsing Tag

Mother’s Day

Gift Guides

Four Elements Mood Board: Water

April 22, 2014

Four Elements Mood Board: Water | Gift Guide | UncommonGoods

Porcelain Barnacle Vase / Make Waves Yarn Bowl / Glasscape Bowl / Ceramic Fish Bones / Under the Sea Pillow / Jellies III by Karen Chan / Jellyfish Earrings / Shattered Glass Bib Necklace



I was most excited to put together this collection of jewelry and home decor that reminded me of water. Having grown up on a small island, three blocks from the ocean and one from the bay, water is the element with which I am most comfortable and most familiar. In putting this all together, it became very clear to me that so many of our artists share the same affection for the deep blue as me.

Inspired by the peaceful hues of the ocean and the unique colors and shapes of its many creatures, this is a collection of goods that will evoke the spirit of this element that is as placid as it is exciting.

Check out the gift guides for Earth and Air that we launched, and check back next week for our last installment of this series, Fire!

Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Ana Talukder

April 7, 2014

Inside the Artist Studio with Ana Talukder Simpson | UncommonGoodsHere at UncommonGoods, we work with amazing vendors who constantly wow us with their creativity, artistry, and love of their craft. We don’t always get to meet the artists with whom we work; often relationships are forged through email and over the phone. Recently I was lucky enough to travel from our Brooklyn headquarters to Seattle to visit the studio of Ana Talukder , the super talented designer behind our beloved Latitude/Longitude jewelry collection.

Arriving at the studio, I was greeted with a big hug by Ana, and was immediately charmed by her bubbly and vivacious presence. I could not wait to see her studio and it was just as I imagined from hearing her description of it over the phone–a spacious and bright room with walls awash in her favorite color: purple. Her studio is a happy place, with touches of her personality everywhere–a purple peg board with small metal buckets to keep her organized, a board of inspirational quotes, and my personal favorite: an indoor window box of pansies (in purple of course!).

Ana and I looked at her new designs and talked about her process. I was wowed by how prolific she is, and how many new ideas she is constantly hatching. It was a great afternoon together and time flew by! Meet Ana and welcome to her colorful and inspirational world!

Inside the Artist Studio with Ana Talukder Simpson | UncommonGoodsWhat are your most essential tools?
Get ready for the cheese alert: A positive attitude!!! Oh, and coffee, which helps with the positive attitude.

What was the toughest lesson you learned as a young designer starting a business?
People that you know and love are going to look at you like you sit around your kitchen table stringing beads all day. Until they see you in a magazine (or 10 all at once – that’ll shut them up real fast).

Inside the Artist Studio with Ana Talukder Simpson | UncommonGoodsInside the Artist Studio with Ana Talukder Simpson | UncommonGoodsWhat advice would you offer yourself 5 years ago?
Don’t ever, ever, ever underestimate yourself (and don’t whine).

How do you set goals for yourself?
I’m really goal-oriented. I like to make lists and to check stuff off lists and feel all accomplished by doing so.

How and when do you decide to celebrate a victory?
There are a lot of “happy dance-offs” in the studio. When we’ve met an impossible deadline, created a prototype that we’re in love with, or met a desired revenue goal… there is going to be a dance off. And we eat a lot of victory pho.

Inside the Artist Studio with Ana Talukder Simpson | UncommonGoodsInside the Artist's Studio with Ana Talukder Simpson | UncommonGoodsWhat quote keeps you motivated?
You always have to be looking to be better, you always have to be working at being better, and you always have to put all your heart in it. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Inside the Artist Studio with Ana Talukder Simpson | UncommonGoodsWhat are some new skills you are trying to acquire to perfect your craft?
I’m working on a new collection that goes back to my first love: quotes. Jewelry with quotes on it has been done several different ways, so I’m working on coming up with some fresh ways to present text–which is requiring me to really move out of my comfort zone and explore new mediums and techniques. I learn best by doing and experimenting, so I’m just gathering materials, drawing a ton of sketches, and creating as much as possible.

How do you recharge your creativity?
I get the heck out of the studio. Far, far away from it. When I’m in a creative slump, I don’t go into the studio for a few days and after just a bit of time, I really, really need to get back in so I can create again.

Nyna, Ana's Production ManagerWhere does collaboration come into play with your craft?
I used to not collaborate, or even discuss my ideas with anyone. My very first employee, my production manager, Nyna, has been the GREATEST sounding board ever. It’s amazing how much more creative I can be with her added creative energy.

I also have two pretty amazing kids (11 & 8) who come into the studio with all sorts of opinions and suggestions–mostly opinions–and I’m married to an entrepreneur, as well, who always has great (and blunt) business advice and is probably my biggest cheerleader, so that helps a ton!

Katara the Studio CatKatara the Studio Cat

Ana Talukder Collection | UncommonGoods

Design

What to do with all these flowers!

May 16, 2013

The trees, bushes, and bulbs are all in bloom and there are flowers everywhere! So many flowers! Kind of a great problem to have. Here are some of my favorite blog posts about how to take those blooms out of the garden and incorporate them in your home decor (and wardrobe!) in truly uncommon ways.

Flowers make a lovely centerpiece, but liven up each place setting with a fresh flower tied with each napkin. Use a collection of twine, jute, and other crafty scraps like Rebecca does in her tutorial on A Daily Something. It’s amazing how those peonies, pop against those neutral napkins and plates.

Speaking of found objects, I love the look of mismatched vintage bottles and jars as bud vases. I tend to collect a lot of old glass bottles and have never considered displaying them all together, tying the collection together with a matching bud in each bottle like Elsie has done on A Beautiful Mess.

The little girl inside of me wants to lay in a field making daisy chains all day and this DIY flower crown on Project Wedding can help me accomplish wearing flowers in a chicer way. A big flower crown is a beautiful replacement for a veil on a Bohemian bride, but I want one for Saturdays. I want to walk around my neighborhood like a chorus member in Hair and proclaim myself the flower princess.

I can’t stop thinking about this handmade banner by Kelly of Studio DIY. Something about the drab cardboard background, the bright white lettering, and the pops of bright, fresh color feels so inviting (peonies!). That banner can say just about anything – Surprise!, Beinvenue, Happy Birthday. This is a craft I plan on making very soon. Seriously though, what is it about peonies that is so beautiful?!*

Another craft I want to do soon is Elsie’s floral garland on A Beautiful Mess. I love buntings and garlands in all forms – pom-poms, penants, tinsel – and this is one of the most beautiful ones I have seen on the Internets. It reminds me a lot of the popcorn garlands we made for the Christmas tree as a kid and sounds just as easy (however, I don’t know how my mom will feel about me traveling around her garden with a needle and thread). What’s even better about this garland is it will only get better with age – when the flowers dry and start changing color it will take one a completely new look.

George Harrison wisely once said “All things must pass” (actually he says it a lot of times within the course of three minutes), and so too will fresh flowers so start thinking what can be done once they begin to wilt and fade. I love this pressed flower tutorial that Esther did on Pamplemousse but if you want to know everything there is to know about pressing flowers go straight to the source – Lady Martha!

What’s a better way to preserve dead flowers than potpourri!? Store it in mason jars like in this tutorial on the Free People blog. Something about the mason jars makes it look a lot less like my grandmother’s potpourri.

Happy crafting, flower children!

The Uncommon Life

Our Fabulous Mothers

May 6, 2013

We all have moms. It’s a natural fact. Odds are, she’s a really fabulous lady. Meet the moms of UncommonGoods ladies and find out what made her such an amazing mother when we were growing up.

As a child living in the Bronx, my mom always made sure I was in contact with my family who lived in Brooklyn. We traveled long train rides to be in touch with my grandparents and cousins. As an adult, I look back and realize those trips meant a whole lot, because we built bonds and my cousins are like my sisters and brothers.

Ne’Quana Rollings, Merchant Assistant

She always encouraged me to put school first.

Melissa Bishop, Associate Buyer-Children’s & Leisure

My mom is literally the kindest and most understanding person I know. She has truly taught me what it is to love unconditionally.

-Liz Minch, Graphic Designer

She used the fact that she is a single mother (and has been most of my life) as her driving force to always go the extra mile. As a child, she always gave me everything I have ever needed and most of the things that I have wanted, even when she didn’t have enough to take care of herself. What I am most appreciative of, though, is that instead of spoiling me rotten, she used “tough love” to push me to be self-sufficient and rely on no one but myself. Without that, I don’t know that I would have the same drive that I do to succeed and get what I want out of life.

Kimberley Fargiano, Quality Control Specialist

Recalling my childhood, I would probably say that the most extraordinary thing my mom did for me when I was young was that she never doubted me.

I can’t remember her ever saying anything negative about any dream or wish I’d ever expressed.
And even now, so many years later, she remains a positive force that still is there to absorb all of my thoughts and dreams, and all of my children’s wonderful hopes and wishes.

Jackie Udden, Assistant Buyer-Jewelry & Accessories

I have never seen my mom wear high heels and I’m pretty sure she was barefoot at her wedding. But for someone who never puts product in her hair and considers Blistex Chapstick her makeup essential, I think she looks pretty awesome! She definitely taught me that beauty comes from the inside.

-Hannelore McElheny, Graphic Designer

She read us the speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr instead of bedtime stories and fastened a “Question Authority” pin on my denim jacket.

Gaby Dolceamore, Community Outreach Coordinator

My mom would let my brother and I turn our family room into a fort and leave it there for DAYS. We could play endlessly and always let our imaginations wander. She has always been so supportive and encouraged our creativity.

Abigail Truet, Marketing Assistant

My mom makes Martha Stewart look like a hack. Because of her I think I can pull any three items out of my fridge or cupboard and make an amazing meal – which is just not true. From watching her I learned a very important life lesson: things that look special, and things that feel special, are not effortless.

-Rebecca Marshall, Senior Graphic Designer

No matter how hard the wind blows, she’s always there to catch my hat before it hits the ground. Being there for all my learning experiences, the frustrations of adolescence, even the transition into adulthood. My mother has been there for it all with a smile on her face and warm words to follow.

-Sheronne Peters, Purchasing

When I was younger, my mother would tell me the story of the three little pigs at bedtime every night – but with new characters and variations at my request. Some nights the big bad wolf would huff and puff at a house made of jelly beans. Some nights it would be jello. Sometimes I’d give the three little pigs new names – AA, BB, and CC were popular at one point. I was a strange child.

Tiffany Jyang, Product Development Associate

Being a young, single mother was tough and unplanned and my mom probably never realized the extraordinary gift that she was imparting on me. She provided me with a home in which I was surrounded by four independent, strong-willed, and unique women. From my grandmother, aunts and especially mom herself, they each taught me valuable lessons that ultimately shaped who I am today. My childhood home was brimming with personality, laughter, love, and beauty regimens. I was taught that it is ok to pick up a paintbrush and climb trees, that it is ok to be someone else’s family to those without, and that sometimes it is necessary to work the night shift to put food on the table.

Jessica McDonough, Senior Graphic Designer

Gift Guides

The Winner of the Pinterest Mother’s Day Contest

May 7, 2012

Another Pinterest contest means another chance for our Social Media team to get together to debate a winner. This time, the Mother’s Day contest required a different kind of discussion. We weren’t just picking out the best designed bedroom, we were deciding who’s mother most deserved a gift from UncommonGoods. The contestants in the Mother’s Day Pinterest contest told us so many stories about their mothers with pins and boards. Some made us laugh, some made us hungry, all of them made us want to call our mothers.

Here are some pins that tugged at our heart strings.


Tina pinned a picture of her mother and the cartoon character that makes her smile. We couldn’t help but find Tina’s mom simply adorable.


This one tugged directly at our stomach. Natalie‘s mom kept things exciting for her children by serving “brinner” once a week. Not only did she work a full-time job and then cook a homemade meal, she made memories for her children.


Elisse posted an image that told us so much about her incredible mother- she served in WW2 and paints watercolors. We are such suckers for vintage photos!


Kim‘s mom’s spinach ricotta looks delicious. It’s hard to believe that her mother isn’t even Italian with cucina skills like those.


Jennifer‘s pin made us giggle. Every mom seems to equip their purses for everything needed in an emergency- bandaids, hand sanitizer, hard candies. It also made us realize how much we are turning into our mothers!


But out of the 56 entries, the board that stole our hearts was by Jennifer Smillie. During our individual screenings, we had all decided that her mother is someone we would love to meet. Jennifer’s pins and stories were so sweet and helped draw us a picture about her incredible, free-spirited mother.

Please help us congratulate Jennifer and let us know how you are celebrating your Mother this year!