Stocking the Gift Pantry with Uncommon Goods

Recently we were invited by Uncommon Goods to stock our holiday Gift Pantry with three items from their inspiring, eclectic catalog. In the interest of full disclosure, this is my very first sponsored post (although we've been approached numerous times since the 2008 creation of this blog) . Why now?  Why Uncommon Goods? Because as a longtime customer,  I am an admirer-er of the fact that they make it their mission to provide a platform for artists and designers.  It also is impressive to me that most (not all) of their items are made right here in the USA.
 At the core of the company is a great respect for the integrity of the creative individual, this is evident in the uniqueness of their retail offerings!  It's always a delight to browse through their catalogs and I must confess that confining my choices to just three Gift Pantry items proved surprisingly difficult ... the offerings are varied and inspiring! However, after perusing their online catalog for far too long, I finally allowed the three choices to be dictated by my own Christmas gift list and thus have every intention of sharing our Uncommon Goods with family and friends.

First Choice:
The 60 Hour Candle $30
(NOTE: refills are available ... of the coiled candle only... for $18)

This sturdy and unique candle is about the circumference of a salad plate.  It's a generously sized candle with an ingenious design.  It pairs a sturdy copper holder with a 100% beeswax candle coil that's fed in small increments through the candle clip--simply advance more candle as it burns. A three-inch section burns for approximately an hour, while the smart design
ensures a better use of wax than traditional shapes. The copper-finish plate and clip bring a warm touch to your home. Refills are also available for $ you might want to let your gift recipient know these are available!  This charming candle has been sitting on our kitchen island for a week and everyone who comes in comments positively on its unique look! 

It's been very, very, very hard to resist the temptation to light it up!  Luckily for him, but not so much for myself, it's been earmarked as a holiday gift for a family friend.

Here is a picture of what it looked like after we took of it out of the box 
and threaded the candle through the clip-like holder on top.

Here's a closer look at the clip-like holder.


 Second Choice:  DIY Lip Balm Kit  ($40)

 DIY kits can actually be a good, and often economical, way to dabble in a new skill to see if it's something you like before investing a lot of time and money in the necessary supplies.

I realize that, at first glance, DIY kits don't appear to be the most frugal of investments.  Especially to frugalites such as myself.  I've always been the sort of person who says "I can make that...or put that together...myself" and usually I can (and often do)  for less money.   That is ... if I have the time and inclination to gather all the diverse components to complete the kit ... and the packaging as well.  While this philosophy can work in saving a little cash...especially for genres that contain easy to obtain (and reasonably priced when buying in small quantities) such as the  "Office (supply) Kits",  "Cupcake Kits" and "Craft Baskets" the time invested is sometimes extensive.  That being said, I've also wasted money ambitiously buying individual ingredients and packaging materials to create my kit. Truth be told,  they often add up to much more than anticipated.

According to the Uncommon Goods website, Karen Lee and Mary Kearns' DIY kits allow you to become familiar with a new skill while pampering yourself with all-natural emollients...the best part is that supporting this kit  provides valuable job-skills services for women in the Washington DC area. Assembling these lovely kits provides ladies living in transitional housing with the opportunity to build their resumes, develop basic job skills, and participate in a structured social skills program. This is how I like to spend my money. 

Each kit includes everything you'll need to make your very own moisturizing lip balm from Fair Trade cocoa butter and organic spearmint essential oil, for a delectable and refreshing fusion of chocolate and mint. Inside the recycled box, crafters will find a vibrant, soy-ink-dyed recipe card and valuable information about the contents of their lip balm to be, including cocoa butter, sunflower oil, beeswax, and organic essential oils. Every kit makes five tins of mint-cocoa balm, making it an ideal endeavor for a rainy day or a fun task to take on with a group of good friends. Made and assembled by hand in Washington D.C. Each is composed of biodegradable materials and makes five, one ounce tins of lip balm.
Check out the gift lab of the DIY Lip Balm Kit on the Uncommon Goods' blog! 


When we opened it is what we were delighted to find!

As I am not set up for this particular type of kit or craft, 
it would take me quite a bit of time and not a small amount of money 
to source and gather all the materials for a kit like this.
(As well, packaging everything always takes me longer than I anticipated.)
Especially considering they include five types of essential oils to flavor your balm!


Lovely how-to/recipe cards for future use ... printed on heavy card stock and very wipe-able!


Third Choice: Recycle a Bottle Plant Nanny Set: 
$19.95 (for a set of four made from terracotta).
These are NOT just for when you go off on vacation and need someone to water your plants; they're also IDEAL for Forgetful~Frugalite Gardeners like myself with an environmental conscience. 

 The Uncommon Goods catalog tells us that each ceramic stake is specially designed to release just the right amount of water into the soil via recycled wine or plastic bottles, making your gardening endeavors a little bit easier as greener. Create a reservoir with the inverted bottle of your choice, attach it using the drip-free adapter, and the terracotta stakes will quench your plants' thirst on your behalf. As your plants absorb moisture from the soil, the stakes will automatically release water directly into the soil, rather than on the surface, ensuring that root systems receive an adequate drink.

NOTE: Sets sold separately... you will need to order one set of four plastic or one set of four terracotta Plant Nannies... no mixing and matching.

See the Plant Nanny in action by checking out the gift lab video on the Uncommon Goods blog.

Here's what it looks like in a planter.

Okay, I LOVE these.  Last summer I tried to order a plastic version of these self-water-rs from Amazon but they were sold out and I've been unable to find them reasonably priced ever since ... that is until now!

I can't tell you how excited I was to find them offered at Uncommon Goods in plastic as well as terra cotta!  Obviously, the plastic versions cost a few dollars less than the natural terracotta Plant Nanny but I will eventually get both...the natural (terracotta) will be used for edible plants such as container gardened herbs, fruit trees and the like.  The plastic will, obviously, be used more for the non edible planters such as my favorite ivy, ferns and potted roses.  In the meantime ... I have full intentions of including this set in a small gift basket, along with a freshly potted miniature rosemary tree and a nice bottle of organic Merlot!    
Here's a picture I snapped with the ceramic Plant Nanny next to an average-size wine bottle. 

 The website tells us that a water filled wine bottle will water plant for approximately 7-10 days depending on the plant and environmental conditions.
Typical 12oz plastic bottles, when filled, will water plant for 5-10 days depending on the plant and environmental conditions. Larger plastic soda bottles (2 Liter), when filled, will water plants for between 14-21 days depending on the plant and environmental conditions.

P.S.  If you sign up for their email list they'll send you info on "secret sales"!


Diane said...

Love the gift ideas. How funny. I used to keep gifts on hand, in the pantry :)

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Thanks so much for the comment Diane! You are so right...the time-honored practice of buying ahead of need is so simple to do...all that's needed is a bit of timely planning and a pantry shelf or under bed storage box! January is the ideal time to start your holiday gift list for next season! Thanks again for your input.
Warmly, Tracey

The original "FRUGAL LUXURIES" ~ Based on the books by Tracey McBride ~ Established 1993

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"FRUGAL LUXURIES: Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your Soul" was written by Tracey McBride and published by Bantam Books, NY, in 1997. It was the first of its genre to synergize the elements of simplicity, frugality and gracious living.

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