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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Holiday Shopping -- Products Review -- Uncommon Goods

Disclosure: I was sent these items to review free of charge from Uncommon Goods. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

Before I start this post, I will warn my family that they should not read this one until after Christmas since it contains gifts I am giving them!!

Have you started your holiday shopping yet? I try to have mine done before Thanksgiving so I can enjoy the holiday season and not have to deal with the crowds at the mall. Now I do all the Christmas shopping for our family including my own gifts. After the first few Christmases I realized I needed to because even with a list, I was not getting what I wanted. When Uncommon Goods asked if I would review some products I jumped at the chance since they offer unique and unusual gifts.  They offer handcrafted gifts and more that are in harmony with the environment and there is no harm to animals or people with their products. Not only that, they stand behind their products and there is no date that things must be returned by. Plus with every purchase they donate $1 to a non-profit of the buyer's choice (from their list of non-profits to which they donate). This is not an ordinary company. 
http://www.uncommongoods.com/


The first thing I did after carousing their site was to e-mail my sister with a few ideas for my nephew. She e-mailed me back four of her top choices for a gift for him. He is 12 and I do not know what 12-year-old boys are into these days. His list is usually on the small side with many expensive things on it, so I jumped at the chance to find him something he might like. From her four choices I picked the desktop basketball game, because it was something I could check out easily to write this review and put back in the box. (Somehow socks did not sound as exciting to me or as easy to review.)


This fun game is perfect for a preteen or for someone who just loves basketball. I played it a few times (until I got a basket) and then Hazel had a go with it. She now wants one!!






I tried to get a picture of the ball going through the basket or at least in the air, but all I got was an orange blur. Sorry!! The height of the basket adjusts to three heights and it comes with two balls. We enjoyed playing it before I repacked it for my nephew.



The next gift I found was for my parents. They tend to be hard to get gifts for and both of their birthdays are right around Christmas (my father's is Christmas day), so it is always finding two gifts for them. Both of my parents are gardeners. My mother always has lots of flowers planted and my father has flowers and vegetables as well as some fruit. My father has been complaining about the decline of the bees and butterflies. I found them this beautiful butterfly puddler. It is handmade pottery and has morning glories (which my parents grow) and butterflies on it. It comes with instructions and also with information about the artist who made it. Since it is too cold here for butterflies right  now, I could not try it out. However even if it doesn't attract butterflies it will be a beautiful addition to any garden or yard!



When I showed it to Hazel and explained what it was, she of course wanted one for our gardens. I told her we could see how it works at Mimi and Pop's house and then maybe get one. I love the idea of it and know my parents will. The reviews seemed pretty positive about getting the butterflies too. Plus my father will make sure to fill it when needed. He already takes care of several hummingbird feeders.





Next I picked out a couple of gifts for me. The first is a healing stone mug. Now I have seen these at a craft show and my mother has one as well as many of the administrators at Hazel's school. I love them and have considered
My Rose Quartz in the Handle!
buying myself one but couldn't spend the money when I was at the craft show. Plus I really had wanted one with rose quartz and I didn't like the colors of the mugs they had at the show with the rose quartz. However, my favorite colors happen to be the ones with the rose quartz at Uncommon Goods. When I told my mother about getting one, she was a little jealous that I got the rose quartz since they didn't have many of them at the craft show.



Again it is handmade so it came with information about the artist and the product. On the website they also tell you the meaning of the stones. I am so excited to have a cup of tea in this mug and have some down time and meditate and pray. I had one cup of tea in it and then after I washed it, I gave it to Steve to wrap for Christmas. I told Hazel it was the gift from her to me and she was really excited!


And of course having a cup of tea in pottery makes it a little more special. With the cold weather starting I have been wanting a hot cup of tea each morning and this is perfect for my at home tea.

















My next gift is tea related as well. I often want that cup of tea when I am dropping Hazel off at school. Now I have a travel tea cup that brews the tea in it, but it is so insulated that the tea does not cool down. It takes me all day to drink the tea from it because it stays so hot. I also have to be home long enough to brew the tea. Since I focus on getting Hazel out the door, my breakfast is one of the last things I think about and it has to be quick. Well the Tea to Go is the perfect solution!! This glass bottle has a built in glass filter so you can brew your loose tea and have it filtered as you drink it. You tilt the bottle to help the tea brew. 


To make it you simply put the loose leaves in one part. I also had a teaspoon of honey. Then you pour the hot water over it. Then you tilt it back and forth to brew it and you drink from the other side. Now since we had not turned the heat on I had a little issue with the glass in the lid cracking when I poured the hot water in. I contacted Uncommon Goods and had a new one sent to me immediately. No questions asked. They completely stand by their products and their customer service is amazing!!


Now I can easily boil the water and add the leaves and have the tea brewing while we brush our teeth and get into the car and I have a great cup of tea to enjoy on the cold mornings. My only complaint is that it is not easy to take the cap off while driving, but that is just a minor complaint.

The final things I am reviewing are for Hazel's stocking!! The first is the face stencil and pen kit. Hazel has been very into drawing lately and she loves drawing people. She also loves using stencils, so I thought this would be perfect for her.





It comes with three stencils--a face shape one, a top one (hair and hats) and one with the facial features on it and it has three markers in it. I did not try to draw any faces, but know Hazel will have a great time with this.


The second stocking gift is the Fairy Tales Fingerprint Art Set. Every time we do some fingerprint art Hazel loves it and asks to do more. She however sometimes has trouble making them into the pictures. I love that this kit comes with the ink pads and colored pencils as well as some rubber stamps to help make the fairy tale scenery and accessories. Here is a sample they have on the inside cover.

I can totally see Hazel making some very creative stories up with this art set. I cannot wait to see what she does. I can also see us making up a story together using fingerprint drawings as pictures of the story. It is going to be so fun!!

This was my first time learning about Uncommon Goods, but when I mentioned it to a friend she responded with how she loves their catalog. As I was carousing their website I read some of the reviews people had written. I noticed that if anyone had a complaint their was a reply from Uncommon Goods mentioning that they would like to replace the item or have it returned because they do not want anyone not completely satisfied. This is such an amazing company and an amazing business model. It is refreshing to have a company that cares about the environment as well as the people around the world. I hope you will go check out their unique items and perhaps finish your holiday shopping like I have done with mine!