Browsing Tag

Summer

Design

The Judges, the Lunch and the Winner!

April 25, 2012

 Last week the judges of the Summer Picnic Design Challenge met at Eat in Greenpoint, Brooklyn to discuss the top five voted designs and decide on a winner. Around the table were Candace, the tabletop buyer for UncommonGoods, Ian Yolles from RecycleBank, and Jessica and Emily of Susty Party. The food was farm fresh, the weather had us in the mood for a summer picnic and the judges were ready to deliberate.

Blown Dandelions by Kendall Walker won the popular vote. The design reminded Candace of being a little kid and blowing dandelions in her back yard. Jessica loved the simplicity of the lines yet thought the image had movement.

Jessica loved that Watermelon by Tanya Alexander was such a solid design that would use a lot of ink and look really bold on a cup and plate.

Jitterbugz by Caty Batholomew was a favorite of Candace. She thought it was a great design for a family and had a fun illustrated style. To her it screamed summer and she thought it would get people excited about the warmer months and upcoming picnics.

Bonnie Christine’s Nature Walk- Bird made us all want to “put a bird on it”. Emily thought it was a very pretty design and would look nice on anything, especially sustainable dinnerware.

But the design that stole the judge’s hearts was Danae Douglas’s Bike. Ian loved that Danae’s design promoted sustainable living and made him happy as an avid biker. Emily thought the design made living an eco-friendly lifestyle look very glamorous. Jessica loved the clean, crisp lines and Candace reaffirmed that UncommonGoods shoppers love bicycle designs and thought it would be a big hit.

 We asked Danae about the inspiration behind her design. “I wanted to show a picnic as an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, as well a chance to travel greenly to get there. Biking is an excellent way to stay healthy, to take in your surroundings, and to get you where you’re going without doing any harm to the environment (and it’s also really fun!).”

To stay creatively inspired, Danae peruses books and magazines in addition to staying on top of local and global issues. “As a designer I think it’s really important to be globally minded and try to take in as many different perspectives as you can.”

Help us congratulate Danae on her victory in the comments below. She won $500 and will see her Bike design stamped onto sustainable cups and plates from Susty Party and sold at UncommonGoods.

Design

Summer Picnic Design Challenge

February 29, 2012


It might be cold outside but we have summertime on the brain at UncommonGoods! We are dreaming of backyard cookouts, sandy beach blankets, frisbee in the park, driving with the windows down and picnics with friends. We can almost smell the barbecue sauce.

Why are we so summer crazy? We are very excited for our first design challenge of 2012. We have teamed up with SustyParty and Recyclebank to search for the cutest, funnest, most delicious graphic that will be stamped onto sustainable plates and cups to furnish your summertime meals. Designs will be selected by UncommonGoods merchants, our Voting Tool community and an impressive panel of guest judges, including Diana Yen, of The Jewels of NY.

The winning designer will receive $500. Find out contest rules and how to enter here.

Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Summer Treats

May 23, 2011

Customer Service representative Meya made some colorful fruit and veggie mango pops with the new Quick Pop Maker, and a recipe she found in Perfect Pops. But will her teething daughter find them as tasty as they are healthy?

1) Product Name: Quick Pop Maker & Perfect Pops

2) Background Research:

Summer’s coming and as a parent to a teething infant, I know the best thing to help sooth them is something cold for them to crush on. So my goal was to find an ice pop recipe that I can make in a jiffy that my teething 8 month old could enjoy as well as the rest of the family.

3) Hypothesis:

I will no longer have to worry that I forgot to pop the teethers in the freezer when the moment hits.

4) Experiment:

My mission: Use the book to find a pop that my whole family will love and with the magic of the Quick Pop Maker create instant ice pops in a flash.

I unpacked, washed, dried and immediately stuck the quick pop maker in the freezer. Then I set out to find the perfect pop recipe. My criteria for my recipe was a pop made of fruits/vegetables, with no added sugar (natural sugars are okay) or salt. A recipe on page 60 caught my interest>: watermelon-beet juice and carrot-apple juice striped pops.

But going over the ingredients I thought, “I must have lost my mind.” Beet juice stains are no joke, and even with the small amount required (2 tbs) I wasn’t willing to risk it. I decided to omit it from the recipe. In the end I also omitted the agave nectar because I couldn’t find any that was pasteurized. I tasted the carrot and apple juice mixture and it really did need something to sweeten it up so I added some mango puree. While it succeeded in sweetening up the mix, it also really changed the color.

Here’s what I did next:

1. Remove Quick Pop Maker from the freezer. Insert sticks and pour about ¾ ounce of 1st mixture or Puree; allow layer to freeze completely.
2. Pour ½ ounce of next mixture or puree into each cavity directly on top of the 1st layer; allow layer to freeze completely.
3. Pour another layer, fill the base up to fill line in each cavity; allow layer to freeze completely.
4. Remove the pops with the Super Tool.

Pretty easy!

5) Results: From start to finish the whole process took about 20 min. I decided to juice or puree fresh fruit, so that added to my time. As did making the striped pops, because I had to wait for each layer to set.

6) Conclusion: I was surprised at Leya. She really loved these popsicles. I took this first picture thinking that I had sometime while she ate her way through the pop.

Little did I know! By the time I texted my mother a picture of Leya eating the pop, she was 2/3 done. As for her sore gums, I had a very happy baby on my hands. So much so that I decided to make her another the very next day (this time it was only an apple-carrot puree). Okay, so I guess I’m not that great at following a recipe but these pops were so good and were quick and easy to make. I can’t wait to try some of the other recipes. If you don’t think your infant can handle the pop stick or you just don’t want the mess, you can always cut a piece off and put it in a mesh feeder.

The Quick Pop Maker is $50 and comes with everything you need to make a batch of pops in just 9 minutes. Pick up a copy of Perfect Pops, $16, for some fun recipes to get you started.

Design

Walking the Walk

April 5, 2011

When Cliff Drill shows people this photo, many folks don’t realize it’s a tire dump right away. And each time you get your tires changed, there’s a pretty good chance your tires are going to end up on a pile like this. Not pretty.

But that’s where Cliff steps in. Rescuing tires before they hit the landfill, Cliff turns them into flip flops he considers, “Fashionable, functional, durable, and comfortable.”

Continue Reading…

The Uncommon Life

Gift Lab #10: Keshia’s Beach Party

July 28, 2010
Keshia

1) Product Name: The Collapsible Party Tub Cooler

 

Collapsible party tub cooler

 

2) Background research: I really LOVE going to the beach to just relax and have fun. And sure, a cooler serves as an ingenious concept for serving up an ice cold drink while sun bathing when it’s 80+ degrees outside. But it is always such a drag to have to lug the cooler when packing up to go home after it has already served its purpose. And of course I always forget about that hassle while on my way to the beach because all that is on my mind is having fun in the sun. Now, I find myself trying to convince Continue Reading…

The Uncommon Life

Sweet Treats Week: Recipe #3

July 22, 2010

Orange Pineapple Sunshine Cupcakes

Doesn’t the name alone just make you smile? I’ve never met a more cheerful, upbeat dessert! If you have a summer birthday coming up, these are a fun alternative to typical ice cream cakes. They have a wonderfully delicate tropical-meets-vanilla flavor. And they feel very  light and airy – thanks to applesauce as a substitute for oil and whip cream frosting. Plus, with oranges, pineapples and applesauce – it’s practically like eating a fruit salad! At least that’s what I told myself as I ate one for breakfast this morning… Continue Reading…

The Uncommon Life

Sweet Treats Week: Recipe #2

July 21, 2010

Whether it’s cookouts or cocktails, every family has a twist on an old classic. Like an heirloom (but more fun), family recipes are passed down, tweaked, perfected—and if you’re a lucky dinner guest—shared.

As UG’s resident Cuban-American, I grew up chomping on ropa vieja (shredded beef) and frijoles negros (black beans) steeped with garlic and know-how. Always full, yes. Blessed, double yes. But much to the disappointment of my grandmother, I’ve gone untouched by the kitchen fairy. So when it comes to indulging my cultural pangs, I stick with our national pastime. No, not baseball. Our other social sport: mojito mixing.

My Havana-born parents can muddle a mojito blindfolded. Me, I need prescription contacts and a blender. Here’s what you’ll need to whip up Mango Mojitos fit for a Continue Reading…

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