items i love (uncommongoods)

uncommongoods necklace gift

If you have been following my blog for awhile now, you will have noticed that I tend to stray away from cheaply made, overly trendy items. I much prefer all things that are unique and hold a certain meaning. UncommonGoods is one such company that sets itself apart from all other online markets. It is a place where those who are looking for truly memorable gifts can visit and find something special for everyone in their lives. Operating out of the Brooklyn Army Terminal, UncommonGoods offers mostly handcrafted items, each with its own story of why it was created. Several pieces are even made from recycled materials. Additionally, being a certified B Corporation ensures that they are also interested in resolving environmental and social issues. With sustainability and creativity being two of the company’s many goals, you can be sure that they offer only the best products.

With our anniversary and several family members’ birthdays being just around the corner, here are my favourite picks for some really exceptional gifts.

uncommongoods necklace

1. Links of Love Necklace.

About: “Artist Beth Lawrence created this stunning yet simple necklace, along with a bracelet and a pair of earrings, while she was pregnant with her first child. Thoroughly modern and extremely meaningful, her pieces subtly represents the ineffably strong connection a mother shares with her child. A gold filled ring adorned with twisted wire is permanently entwined with a smaller, sterling silver hoop and suspended from a sterling silver chain. A wonderful gift for new mothers, grandmothers, sisters, or best friends, the joined pieces are evocative of the infinite connection we possess with the special people in our lives and a reminder that they’re always there for us as we carry on through life’s struggles and successes. Handmade in Nashville, Tennessee.”

More jewelry can be seen here.

uncommongoods men's kit

2. Working Man’s Hygiene Kit.

About: “This all-natural set was created by a mechanic who let his dirty, damaged paws drive his inspiration to design products for dudes. The manly salves, scrubs and balms included are specially made to meet the needs of the working man. From soothing sore feet, to healing cracked lips and knuckles, to buffing the dickens out of dry skin, this kit goes beyond simple cleansers to get the job done. Handmade in the USA.”

More birthday gifts can be seen here.

uncommongoods diy gift

3. DIY Cinema Lightbox.

About: “Turn weddings, birthdays, and clever turns of phrase into feature film-worthy displays with this retro light box. Back-lit like a real marquee, this lightweight, battery-operated design offers three slotted lines to accommodate the included letters and symbols. Set up the portable piece at your wedding reception’s welcome table, in front of the birthday cake, or in your little one’s bedroom and let the creative messaging begin! Made in China.”

More wedding gifts can be seen here.

uncommongoods blog

You can learn more about UncommonGoods by visiting their blog here. They even offer tours of the studio! More importantly, every time an item is purchased, $1 is donated to a charity of your choosing. I can’t wait to order a little something from their website.  Talk about a favourable way to help change the world.

This was a sponsored post. I’m thankful for the brands and websites that I can partner with!

<3

Emory

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3 best maternity wear catalogues

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Hey guys! Today I’m excited to bring to you a guest post that is so fitting for my blog and life right now. The topic centres on maternity wear, something that I personally have needed help with in trying to find the best place to shop for this type of fashion. Here is a guide for everyone who feels the same as I do, or for those are just wanting a new place to shop online for maternity clothes!

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Are you struggling to find maternity wear? Here are 3 of the Best Catalogues for Maternity Wear

Expecting a new baby can be one of the happiest – and stressful – times of your life. If you need new clothes and don’t want to spend hours on the high street, there is an alternative. Open a credit account with a womens clothing catalogue and pay for your order in instalments.

Here are 3 of the best catalogues for maternity wear.

1. Very

One of the country’s largest catalogue companies, Very specialises in maternity wear, with clothes available in a wide range of sizes. From dresses to comfortable shoes to accessories, and everything in-between, the retailer stocks maternity clothing from big name brands and designers you have yet to hear about. Once you’ve opened your account with the company, you can spread the cost of payments over time – allowing you to make repayments in affordable chunks. Use a discount code and save money or get 10 percent off your order as a first-time customer.

2. Simply Be

Simply Be has a wide range of clothing in plus-sizes – including brands that you won’t find on the UK high street. When it comes to maternity wear, the company have a wide range of clothes to suit every style and budget. What’s more, you can spread the cost of payments. Opening up a new account with the retailer doesn’t take long, and you’ll usually receive an instant decision in most circumstances. Clothes are available in sizes 12 to 32 and you get 10 percent off your first order as a brand new customer. Sounds pretty good, right?

3. Vertbaudet

Vertbaudet is your one-stop shop for baby clothes and maternity wear, and you could get 30 percent off your first order – and free delivery – as a new customer. You can browse through hundreds of products on the company’s website and once you’ve opened a credit account, you’ll be able to spread the cost of your purchases. Make repayment online or over the phone and save money on clothes when pregnant. Maternity wear includes T-shirts, tops, dresses, lingerie, shoes, and much more.

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This was a sponsored post. I’m thankful for the brands and websites that I can partner with!

<3

Emory

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kinfolk : a coffee menu

Kinfolk_Vol15_CaffeinealaCarte-2Words by Liz Clayton. Top Photograph by Gentl & Hyers. Bottom Photograph by Emory Ann Kurysh. Food Styling by Camille Becerra.

Everything in your life can be coffee if you really want it to be. It just makes sense. Coffee, and its ability to somehow soothe and vivify at the same time, provides a through-line in so many of our lives. From unconsciousness into morning, it sparks creativity at work and later revitalizes us for the playtime that comes after. So why limit its gifts to those of imbibement? Coffee, whether it’s in your body, on your body or simply near it, can surround you with its comfort in so very many ways.

Beyond merely drinking this magical elixir, there are myriad ways to consume it. In fact, coffee was originally eaten rather than brewed. According to ancient legend, there was a goatherd named Kaldi whose dancing, leaping charges revealed that the source of their jubilation was grazing on the fruits of the wild coffee bushes of Ethiopia. In modern times, we’ve figured out a more bingeable, chocolate-enrobed version of this stimulant, and infusing food with coffee has only become more elegant as chefs learn more about the subtlety and variation of roasts and origins. It’s a natural fit in beer: The sweet deep tones of a sultry roasted coffee can be perfectly suited to the palates of porters or chocolatey stouts. Ground espresso has found its way into spice mixes for delectable meat rubs, combining beautifully with ingredients such as cocoa, Tellicherry pepper and sumac. Coffee and cheese also make surprisingly friendly bedfellows (you’ll find it in aromatic rinds and other mysterious places), and let’s not forget the supreme expression of coffee in any proximity to ice cream.

Coffee can be all around you in the home too. You can put it on your furniture—on purpose, even—as a gentle-tinted wood stain, or apply it with a small brush or swab as a scratch cover. Spent coffee grounds can clean and scrub your pots and pans, and what’s more, they can do the same for your skin: Moistened coffee grounds either used on their own as a skin exfoliant or incorporated into lotions as part of a stimulating coffee massage therapy treatment are credited with stimulating circulation and transmitting their anti-oxidant benefits to the skin. It also has heaps of beneficial uses in the garden from general-purpose composting to intentionally rebalancing your soil’s acidity. Want to change the color of your hydrangeas? Coffee grounds are here to help you go from white to blue.

And if coffee has awakened your artistic side after all that cooking, gardening and spa therapy, anything leftover in the pot makes a lovely watercolor-like paint. It’s a classic aid in creating an antique effect on paper—just remember, would-be historic-document forgers, that your papers will smell revealingly, deliciously like what you’ve been brewing all along.

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kinfolk : red velvet lava cakes

Kinfolk_Vol17_TheBloodMenu-2Recipe by Diana Yen, Photograph by Anders Schønnemann, Styling by Mikkel Karstad & Sidsel Rudolph. 

Invented at New York’s Waldorf Astoria in the 1930s, red velvet cake is adored by the masses. In this interpretation, molten chocolate turns into gooey lava as it oozes from the center of this soufflé-like cake.

Red Velvet Lava Cakes

Ingredients:

For the Ganache
4 ounces (115 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup (60 milliliters) heavy cream

For the Cake
4 ounces (115 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
¼ cup (55 grams) unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for greasing
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
¼ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon red gel-paste food coloring
Confectioners’ sugar, optional

Method:

For the Ganache
Place the semisweet chocolate in a small heat-proof bowl. In a small saucepan, warm the cream over medium-high heat until it just begins to boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate, let stand 2 to 3 minutes for the chocolate to soften, and then whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Using two teaspoons, form 6 balls of ganache, spacing them out on a parchment-lined tray. (The leftover ganache can be warmed and served with the finished cakes, or kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.) Freeze the ganache balls until solid, about 1 hour, or they can be wrapped tightly and kept in the freezer for up to 3 days before using.

For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Grease six 4-ounce (120-milliliter) ramekins or 6 cups of a standard muffin tin with butter and coat them lightly with flour, tapping out excess. Place them on a baking sheet and set aside.

In a small saucepan, stir together the bittersweet chocolate and butter over medium-low heat until just melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the flour and salt until well combined.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a medium bowl using a handheld electric mixer, beat the eggs. Slowly add the granulated sugar and continue mixing until the eggs are foamy and pale in color, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and food coloring. Pour in the melted chocolate mixture and use a rubber spatula to stir until just combined. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared ramekins.

Place 1 ball of ganache into the center of each ramekin, taking care not to press it all the way to the bottom. The goal is to have it immersed in the center of the cake. Use a spoon to smooth the batter over the ganache.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops are just set. Set aside to cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Loosen the edges of the cakes with a butter knife, and then turn them out onto individual plates, or onto a baking sheet if using a muffin tin. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately with more of the warmed ganache* on the side, if desired.

*To warm the leftover ganache, place it in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of gently simmering water and stir until melted.

Serves 6

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home: an enchanted forest (florian)

IMG_2395Hey! My name is Wren and I am so excited to share my home with you today! I live in a three-bedroom home on an acreage with my handsome husband, beautiful children, and a menagerie of animals. I am a photographer/musician/designer and I have a blog called “Florian“. There I mainly post my photographs, with little ramblings about life. Thanks so very much to Emory for inviting me to come over and show some photos of our place. It has been a big project for our family for the past few years and so it is nice to be at the point where we can share some of our progress. There is still a ton left to do, but it’s home for us for now and we love it! Hope you enjoy.

IMG_2373Where is your home located?

Our home is located in a beautiful little forest near a meandering stream with a wooden bridge running over it. There are woods, fields and orchards all around, with amazing views from the nearby hilltops. The big old trees standing around our home shade us nicely in summer and keep us cool. Then they thin their leaves enough in the fall and winter to let lots of sunlight in when we need it the most.

IMG_2375Wild animals wander through our property all year round and we have enough space to have a large vegetable garden in the back (with a fence around it of course). We also like to have bonfires and camp-outs in the farthest reach of our property that makes us feel like we are far away from it all.  I even have a swing up there that I like to visit whenever I need a few moments to unwind and feel like a kid again. We also have the perfect toboggan hill for the winter, which I am pretty sure is the main reason our kids agreed to our place when we first saw it! It’s a pretty great location with lots of natural beauty and of course the necessary amenities within close reach. We looked a long time before buying our home and really thought about what we wanted from our property. I think we lucked out and found a great spot for our family for right now.

IMG_2710IMG_2363What are your thoughts on the idea of ‘home’?

I think my motto is “home is where the heart lies”. I have moved and travelled a lot throughout the years so ‘home’ has meant a lot of different things at different points in my life. (Once I got married and had kids, I kept on moving only with more stuff and people to tow along!) Because I have lived in so many places and homes, I think my approach to making a house into home has become pretty straightforward. Home for me is wherever my husband and kids are, where we make our space comfortable and functional, and where we create memories together. I like to set up my furniture, art and instruments right away whenever we settle into a new space, which makes things feel familiar. But it is honestly not about stuff for me when I think of home. It is more about the feelings of nostalgia that you get whenever you bake an old cookie recipe from your childhood. Or when you smell wood smoke and remember all those times you sat by a wood stove or bonfire with the ones you love. It’s how you feel when you get out decorations from the attic to get ready for the holidays. That is ‘home’ to me. The good stuff in life that you share with the people you love the most. It’s also a safe place to relax and unwind away from it all. We named our property “the hide out” for a reason. It’s a place that we feel hidden away and happy in, with space to play and to work on projects, celebrate holidays and enjoy our time together. 

IMG_2292What kinds of things influence your design style?

I am a fan of mid-century modern and Scandinavian design, so I tend to gravitate towards that look. We also have a lot of different eras of vintage furniture and collectibles in our home, which set a certain tone with their aesthetic and colour palettes. As far as an overall look in a space, I love the graphic quality of black and whites with bright colour thrown in to contrast. I think my tastes in design are pretty similar whether it be in home design, photography, or fashion, etc. My photos are the best (I think) when they are more graphic looking, I wear a lot of black and white in my wardrobe, and I have noticed that my home is increasingly looking more like this as well. I have been told that I am “daring with colour” in my home, which I suppose is true in some ways. However, most of our walls are white, except for an occasional accent wall. The floors are also all painted/tiled/carpeted white throughout the house. This was a choice I made because I knew that it would allow the space to breathe and feel light, as well as leave room for the colourful pieces that I wanted to showcase. (And no, it isn’t super hard to keep clean! It requires about the same level of cleaning as any floor surface does.)

IMG_2297A really colourful choice that I made was on my kitchen cupboards which are from Poggenpohl. The colour they are is called “fluorite” from a line the company did based on minerals. Essentially it is this delicious citrus green. I loved them the minute I saw them, but I think some people would shy away from putting in such strong colour on so much area. They work really well though and add a lot of life to the space. We had all white walls initially in the kitchen, but I pushed for the main wall to be painted black and I am so happy that we did it. It makes the space feel substantial and shows off the chrome and stainless steel in the room (like my industrial sink!).

IMG_2327Change is good with design, and honestly I think that the evolution of a space is often the most interesting part. I have found that too much of one style tends to make a space into more of a museum than a livable home. I really like the sparseness and space of mid-century modern, but it has proven to be a bit too cold for daily life with a family. My husband and kids have pushed for more soft furnishings, so we have compromised a bit on some of our furniture. I have gotten rid of some of the vintage pieces that I loved, but were not comfy or durable enough to keep. Our bright blue couch is a departure from the usual style/shape I choose in furniture, but it is super cozy and perfect for curling up on with a good book, so it works great for our family room.

IMG_2306Having kids and pets also adds a lot of clutter and commotion to life which has led me to realize that striving for a ‘perfect’ room with pristine furniture and no toys/books/art supplies/shoes laying about is like shoveling in a snow storm. I am not going to ever get it finished, no matter how hard I try!  I do daydream of all white furniture with lots of teak, but my puppy likes to chew wood and my kids have spilled on almost every piece of furniture I own. I guess my design style is best summed up as “aspiring for clean/functional/fun- with a good dose of having a family friendly surfaces.” 

IMG_2760What do you consider to be one of your favourite items in your home? What could you never live without?

Other than my family, which I could never live without, I suppose my favourite items in my home are my musical instruments. We have moved far and wide and left behind many a sofa/chair/coffee table, but we always take our instruments. My husband and I are both musicians and have built up a collection of instruments that we play regularly and are, I think, a beautiful part of our space.  I feel like it is home when we get the instruments all set up and arranged. The drum kit takes up a lot of space but I also just feel that I want to live in a house that has a drum kit in it. Our kids love playing music too, which I think is invaluable for them to experience. They have learned to feel comfortable around things like violins, banjos and sitars from an early age, which I hope will lead them to having music in their lives as they grow. It’s something we really value in our home. It makes our house feel more like a ‘home’ to me whenever we play music together. 

IMG_2286Please share any ideas/stories/pictures that best highlight your home.

Well, our home has been a real “labour of love” for our family. We bought it a couple of years ago and have worked incredibly hard on it since then. I mentioned earlier that we loved the property and surroundings when we found our place. The other part of that story is that the house itself was in terrible condition and needed an immense amount of work to get it up to current living standards. We literally started out camping in a tent for a few days when we moved in because the house was in such dire straights. But with a lot of elbow grease, a couple of large dumpsters, and lots of dreams we have been able to make our house into a space that works for our family. There were definitely moments where I thought we had bitten off more than we could chew, but it has all been a great learning experience that allowed us to make our house into what we want and need. We had some excellent work done by electricians/gas fitters/installers etc. on the things that needed inspection and certification, but other than that we have done a lot ourselves. This has meant that we get to think about what we are doing and make sure it works, which is wonderful. But, it has also meant that things have taken a bit longer because it’s been us doing it rather than some big crew rushing though. Sometimes we had to wait to do something because it was outside of what our budget would allow. Or we had to find the right materials and it took a lot longer to do that than we had planned. Often we had to stop and reassess where we were heading with a plan and decide if we were making the right choices. It was harder than I first thought to make some of the decisions, although it was super fun at other moments too. I would say that the kitchen part was the worst for me simply because it is such a central part of our home and it seemed to take so very long to complete. I knew what I wanted with the lay out and design, but it was a process to get it all set up. (It took forever to find a fridge that fit properly and didn’t take over the entire space!!) In the interim, we still had to make meals in it, which was pretty tough some days.

IMG_2305Overall, our home has become a lot of what I envisioned when I first saw it. It is open and bright and looks out onto our property with big windows. The children’s rooms are finished enough that I feel good about them, finally!!  My bathtub is exactly the big and luxurious type that I wanted; I just had to wait a little while for it. The plans that we have for the rest of our home are exciting to look forward to. We have worked hard on this house with our little budget and our big hopes and dreams, and it has taught me a lot. I have grand designs for an art cabin in the back of our property where I can write, paint and play music. I am hoping that next spring it will be time to get that project going. I know that it will be a snap to do compared to what the rest of the house has been. I feel like we can do pretty much anything now due to all that we have accomplished.

IMG_2740As I said before, there is still a ton to do on our house, but it is getting there and we are really loving what we have made it into. I suppose that that is what I would say is the biggest thing I’ve taken away from this whole experience; dream big, work hard and keep your chin up. Things tend to work out all right if you do those three things. Yay!! for dreaming big! 

IMG_2285Thanks so much Emory for inviting me to share my little home! It was so much fun!

Love Wren.

If you would like to take part in this series, entitled Home, please email me at helloscarlettblog@outlook.com.

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  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife and mother to three (two on earth and one in heaven). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

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