Browsing Tag

Mother’s Day

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!

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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!

Gift Guides

Pinterest Contest: Happy Mother’s Day

April 16, 2012

Win up to a $250 shopping spree for you and your mom.* Just repin this image below to a Mother’s Day board, follow the instructions, and leave a link to your finished board in the comments below, or the pin on our Pinterest board.

Let your Mom know why she’s the best with this board filled with images that remind you of her. Don’t have an exact photo? No worries– be creative with these prompts and have fun!

We’ll announce the winner on May 4, so you and your mom will have plenty of time to shop together, before or after Mother’s Day. For every 50 entries we see, we’ll add $50 to the grand prize, up to a total of $250. So after you share your board with us, be sure to tell your friends and family to enter too!

*Or mother figure, or moms. Whoever you’re celebrating this Mother’s Day!

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.

Maker Stories

Mother’s Day Gift: Retro-inspired Garden Art

May 5, 2011

Whether Mom loves gardening, has an impeccable yard filled with great decorations or just loves colorful art, Reclaimed Record Pinwheels make a great Mother’s Day gift. And if Mom’s a music lover, well that’s an added bonus!

Since she began painting in 1994, artist Christine Claringbold has embraced the use of reclaimed and recycled materials in her work. Her reclaimed record mandalas, the basis of these pinwheels, are now her signature design.

Christine took a break from painting her vibrant mandalas to tell us more about her process.

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The Uncommon Life

Hope’s Uncommon Mom

May 3, 2011

Our Uncommon Moms are beautiful, intelligent, caring and all-round fantastic! Since Mother’s Day is just a few days away, we’re showing the world just how much we love our mamas by sharing what makes them so special.

Hope, a member of our warehouse team, is stationed in our giftboxing department. She’s careful to make sure Mother’s Day gifts are handled with care when they’re being packaged in those blue boxes and tied with big bows!

Hope says that she and her mom have similar personalities and share much in common. Hope’s mom, Jannie, is now a great grandma! Read on to learn more about what makes this great grandma great!

Hope’s Uncommon Mom

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