Browsing Tag

Summer

The Uncommon Life

How To Repot Succulents

June 8, 2012

*Editor’s note: This planter is no longer available, but we do have a fun assortment of exciting gardening goods. Check out our planters and seed kits here.

As Charlotte (you know, the one with the web) would say, Salutations! I’m Blair – the bloggin’ gal from the lifestyle and fashion blog, Wild and Precious and what a pleasure it is to be over in the beautiful blogging world of UncommonGoods today. And now that I’ve introduced myself lets chat about a way to spruce up that patio of yours.

In the world of trends, Succulent plants seem to be taking home the crown in the fauna and flora category. And why shouldn’t they? Their lush “I don’t give a darn,” character is nothing to be ignored. Succulents are hardy, unique, and perfect for the dry summer heat. They don’t ask for much, but a good environment to get their start in life will take them a long way. No green thumb needed — follow this quick DIY tutorial to get your happy Succulents repotted and ready for your front porch or city window.

Did you make mudpies growing up? If so, this might be your favorite part — make your own dirt mixture! When picking out potting soil just get the very most basic stuff. You don’t want anything too rich in additives — Succulents just don’t like that stuff. The goal of your dirt mixture is to get water/food/light/nutrients to and away from the roots in a time appropriate fashion. Mix coffee grinds and a little sand into your dirt before filling your pots. The sand will keep your soil from getting too over saturated with moisture (remember, these type of plants are desert dwellers – they aren’t use to a whole lot of the wet stuff) and the coffee grinds will help fertilize as well as keep away slugs and bugs that would otherwise love to nibble your Succulents down to nothingness.

You can save and use your own coffee grinds but if you aren’t a joe drinker check out your local coffee shop or favorite Starbucks. In a new effort to be green (reduce! reuse! recycle!), Starbucks is bagging and giving away used coffee grinds for garden use.

As far as picking out pots the world is your oyster. You don’t need anything too big and can even choose to put more than one succulent together in a pot. I chose these funky modern pots to compliment my trendy vegetation.

With your pot(s) picked out fill 1/3 of each pot with sand. Do not try to cut costs (sand is cheap anyway) by bringing home sand from your beach vacation — that stuff is full of salt and your succulents will no longer be… well, succulent. Sand is important in helping move around and drain water. Once you’ve got the sand in, fill with your dirt mixture leaving a small lip of space up top.

The plants: I picked out three wee little plants from Home Depot. They were around $4 each. They had crazy names, but in my excitement I lost the tags. I’m thinking about naming them myself though… ah, I digress.

Before introducing your plants to their new home give the bottom of the existing dirts/roots a bit of a scrunch. Flare the root structure out a bit. This will help it transition better into its new/bigger/better environment. This is something good to remember when planting anything anywhere. If you don’t break up the bundle they are used to having in their temporary store shells, they might be a little too shy to branch out (pun intended) into their new world.

Now — where to put them? These guys are not fans of the midday sun. They prefer indirect/filtered sunlight and enjoy a nice airflow (I chose to put mine on my front porch which is roofed). As for watering — unlike planting in your garden, you do not want to water these right away after repotting. Give them some time to adjust and then give a good watering about once a week during the warmer months. Don’t ever leave standing water in your pots — it makes them angry.

Wham bam thank you ma’am we have ourselves some repotted Succulents! Call your self hip cause you’ve got the trendiest little plants on the block. Mischief managed!

Thanks for hanging out with me — pop over any time to say hi Wild & Precious. ta ta friends.

Check out more planters and seed kits at UncommonGoods.
Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Summer Picnic

June 1, 2012

Background

The Picnic Backpack ($40) is a two person picnic backpack. The core of the backpack is fully insulated thermal lined pocket, while the smaller front pocket comes with storage for [also included] two: plates, cups, napkins, forks, spoons, knives. There is also one waiter’s tool bottle opener. It also has a cell phone pocket on the strap and side and front pockets for a bottle and accessories.

It comes just as expected!

Hypothesis

I love to go out to eat or entertain at home. I also like to combine the two by getting a couple friends together for a nice outing in the park (food included, of course!), but there’s always the hassle of lugging my picnic basket which gets way too heavy. The weight of the basket plus its components doesn’t even include my beverages. I usually have to carry an extra backpack with the beverage and utensils. By the time I get to the park–I’m exhausted.

I think having the weight on my back alone would be easier, and this backpack seems to have the right storage for my drink, food, and utensils. I think I’ll be more excited and willing to bring lunch from home to the park, or anywhere for that matter, with this backpack.

Experiment

Instead of picnicking with friends as planned, I opted to take my younger brother Naquan (14 years old) and cousin Mya (2 years old). Taking these two would be perfect in figuring if this product will turn my picnic horrors upside down. My brother willingly (shocker) carried the FULLY packed bag, while skateboarding!

Dealing with a teenager and toddler is not the easiest thing, so I aimed to keep them happy with plenty of snacks and games.

Conclusion

The picnic was a success! With this one backpack, I was able to fit 1 qt. of water, 2 bowls of salad, 2 yogurts, 2 pints of fruit, 2 canned beverages, an abundance of snacks, a full-sized sheet, beach mat, card games, hand sanitizer, a trash bag, iPod, and there’s probably other things I’m forgetting. This backpack kept all of my cold items chilled, and everything I wanted to keep dry dry. According to Naquan, it was easy to carry–even on wheels. It was easy to setup, cleanup, and everyone enjoyed the day out in the sun (well, mostly shade).

In conclusion, picnicking was made fun again and we can’t wait for our next outing!

The Uncommon Life

Meet Becca!

May 30, 2012

Hi y’all! My name is Becca and I am the newest addition to the UncommonGoods team. I will be blogging and tweeting about UG throughout the summer. I would love for you to get to know me. Here are some fun facts…

I volunteer with Camp Kesem, a national organization that provides a free weeklong summer camp for children whose parents have or have had cancer, and develops student leaders. It is inspiring, empowering, and all around fun. (Seriously, who wouldn’t want to hang out with amazing children, playing hilarious and fun games for a week in the summer!)

I love water – in a glass, in a pool, in the ocean, as rain, etc. As far back as I can remember my summers revolved around swim team! Go Gorillas! (Yes, my summer swim team’s mascot was a Gorilla. I know that Gorillas are not a water animal, and most likely cannot swim, but I just love the irony!)

Despite a slight aversion to planes, I love to travel. I had the incredible opportunity to travel abroad last summer in Germany. I loved exploring the cities, the history, the culture, and the food!

[I ate this delicious plate of pasta in Germany, the land of schnitzel and bratwurst.]

Speaking of food, I love pasta to the point of it being almost an obsession. I would eat pasta every night for dinner (and probably lunch) if I didn’t think a little variety is good in a healthy diet. Also, shout out to my mom who makes the best spaghetti and meatballs!

Finally, no list of things about me would be complete without an uncommon fact. So, without further ado, I collect wind chimes. I started back when my family used to go to the beach in the summer. I love their peaceful sound and know that they will be the perfect addition to my future house’s sun room or wrap around porch (hey, a girl can dream!).

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.