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Maker Stories

This Just In-Spiration: Meet Govy

February 20, 2018

To French artist Govy, planets are much more than big rocks throttling in circles throughout the sky—they’re measures of time, markers of our place in the universe, and fodder for some really cool creations. Creations like her Personalized Solar System Art Print, a joint venture with Martin Vézina that takes a date and time that’s important to you and turns it into a piece of sleek, custom-made artwork that highlights where, according to NASA, the planets and dwarf planets in our solar system were at that very moment. Pretty cosmic, huh?

We first caught a glimpse of Govy’s work here in our Brooklyn office, a world away from Japan, where she now lives with her beloved cat, Taiga. We love the inviting, but minimal look of her prints, with their personal flair and art-meets-STEM approach, and we knew we simply had to reach out and see if she’d tell us more about how she developed the idea. Read on for Govy’s answers to our burning questions (you know, burning like big balls of gas, billions of miles away), plus a couple of photos of Taiga herself.

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The Uncommon Life

Protecting the Rare Kirtland’s Warbler with American Forests

February 18, 2018

*Editor’s note: Spring is almost here, and we’re celebrating by sharing a story from our longest-standing nonprofit partner, American Forests. Thanks to our Better to Give program, we’ve donated over $400,000 to American Forests, the nation’s oldest conservation organization, since 2010. Read on for a report on their efforts to conserve the habitat of the Kirtland’s warbler, courtesy of the organization’s Manager of Forest Conservation, Justin Hynicka.

A Kirtland’s warbler in Stubb’s Park, Centerville, Ohio; photo by Andrew Cannizzaro

A bright future for Kirtland’s warbler in the Northern Great Lakes

By Justin Hynicka, American Forests Manager of Forest Conservation

I have a love-hate relationship with red-eye flights. On one hand, they maximize daylight on day one to explore my destination, which I love. On the other hand, it usually takes a day or two to shake off the cobwebs from poor sleep, which I don’t love. As if one night isn’t hard enough, just imagine taking a red-eye flight for two weeks straight. Oh, and you are also the pilot.

This is the journey the Kirtland’s warbler (KW; Setophaga kirtlandii) makes twice a year, traveling 1,700 miles in 16 days from the Bahamas to Michigan in spring, and back again in fall. [1] Even though KWs pass though many eastern states, they are rarely seen outside of their wintering and breeding areas due to a low-but-rising population and because they migrate at night. After such a journey, it’s hard to blame them for being one of only a few warblers to nest on the ground.

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Maker Stories

Uncommon Impact: Help Elephants & Sip Coffee with this Handmade Mug

February 16, 2018

When you think “activism,” you may not think “handmade pottery.” Thanks to the work of longtime maker JoAnn Stratakos, we’d encourage you to broaden your horizons. Best known around these parts as the creator of Elwood, our de facto mascot, JoAnn’s latest creation—the Protect the Elephants Mug—harnesses cuteness for a cause. For every mug sold, we’re donating $5 to the PAMS Foundation, an organization dedicated to conservation efforts, including the protection of elephants, in faraway Tanzania.

From left to right: Ryan, JoAnn’s Production Supervisor, throws a Protect the Elephants Mug on the wheel; mugs get their handles; and glazed mugs wait to be fired in JoAnn’s Effort, Pennsylvania, studio

Why PAMS? We asked JoAnn that very question. “The MudCrew and I came about the PAMS Foundation through a social media post about Wayne Lotter,” she told us. But if “the MudCrew” is JoAnn’s nickname for her staff, then who’s Wayne? The former director and co-founder of PAMS, that’s who. Killed in the line of duty last year in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Wayne founded PAMS in 2009 alongside fellow conservationists Ally Namangaya and Krissie Clark. It’s believed that Wayne—who received death threats throughout his career—was murdered for his anti-poaching work.

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Design

Give Your Favorite Fruits a Boost with the Just Ripe Fruit Bowl

February 12, 2018

*Editor’s note: The Just Ripe Fruit Bowl is coming soon to our assortment. Get it first by pre-ordering here.

Just Ripe Fruit Bowl | pre-order now, only at UncommonGoods

Thousands of years—that’s how old the concept of a fruit bowl is. In Pompeiian frescoes and the Met’s collections (and many places in between), you’ll find evidence of the delightfully basic vessel’s time-honored place in our kitchens. When something’s been around so long, though, why tweak it? We’ll let you in on a secret: Your beloved fruit bowl could be better. We’re talking way, way better. And with a little help from designer Myles Geyman, our Product Development team set out to make it so.

First, if you’ll permit the indulgence, allow us to set the scene. It’s a sunny Saturday morning, and you’ve just hit the farmer’s market in search of you favorite summer fruits (hey, it’s February—we can dream): peaches, cherries, plums, and nectarines. You arrive home with your tasty, tasty spoils, plop them all in your favorite fruit bowl, and wait for each to achieve maximum ripeness. But you’re foiled when one of your peaches turns mushy, unleashing a sea of sticky peach slop, and when you attempt to lift your spirits, you reach for a plum—only to find it’s neither soft nor sweet! If only you had some way of organizing your fruits, pushing the tough, unripe ones along, and keeping such disappointment at bay…

Enter the Just Ripe Fruit Bowl and its partner in crime, a little thing called ethylene.

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Gift Guides

Our Least Mushy (But Still Lovable!) Valentine’s Day Gifts

February 2, 2018

Ever feel like Valentine’s Day is… well… a little bit gross? Call us immature, but here’s a secret: We agree, at least sometimes. All that lovey-dovey stuff isn’t for everyone; heck, some of us even show our love best with gifts that may seem totally aromantic—nerdy scarves, celestial bottle stoppers, coasters crafted from vinyl LPs… Trust us, the list goes on and on. Thankfully, we’ve shown restraint in choosing our tippy-top non-mushy Valentine’s Day gifts this year, selecting an even 20 of our favorites to bring joy to your sweetheart’s face. Read on for more. Continue Reading…

Gift Guides

Valentine’s Day Gifts for a Relaxing Night In

January 29, 2018

We encourage relaxing throughout the year, but even we must admit that Valentine’s Day comes at an opportune time to chill. By mid-February, the holidays are over, and the sheen of the new year’s worn off just a tad—and with real life staring you right in the face, what better way to cope than with a hot, sudsy bath or a box of dark, indulgent chocolates? Now, with our favorite gifts to keep your Valentine’s Day celebration as peaceful as humanly possible, you can make a date of de-stressing. Read on for the rundown on 13 of our best bath soaks, tea kits, candles, and more.

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Gift Guides

17 Gifts in an Exclusive Relationship with UncommonGoods

January 24, 2018

Finding a gift that feels truly unique can be a bit of a toughie sometimes. With all the flowers, chocolates, and hearts that populate the gift-giving landscape every February, what’s to separate one Valentine’s Day good from another? Plenty, we think, and “where you found it” is one of the many metrics we swear by. That’s why we’ve assembled an assortment of our favorite romantic goodies you can only get at UncommonGoods. Read on to uncover 17 of our best exclusive gifts for this Valentine’s Day, from polychromatic pillows to seductive paperweights, with plenty of ground covered in between.

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Gift Guides

Our Favorite New Gifts for Your Valentine

January 19, 2018

Ahh, Valentine’s Day. You know what they say: “Love is in the air,” and here at UncommonGoods, we’re sure feeling it. When it comes to gifts, last-minute roses and drugstore chocolates are OK fallbacks, but if you’re already browsing our blog, chances are you’re looking for something a little more… special. Lucky for you, we’ve hand-picked a selection of 19 gifts you couldn’t get from us this time last year, from spankin’ new suites of cocktail syrups to sweet, subtle necklaces sure to please. Read on for more on our favorite new Valentine’s Day gifts and you’ll find just the thing to celebrate L-O-V-E. (Cross our hearts.)

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