Blog News

2015 Westervin Consumer Survey

Westervin 2015 Consumer Survey

 

Dear friends, family, and sweet readers! Please take a moment to complete our 2015 survey.

If you:

  • have read anything on this blog, or
  • bought something from our shop, or
  • call yourself a maker, or
  • own your own business,

We want to hear from you. Nay, we need to hear form you!

With the new year has come a renewed focus at Westervin headquarters (a.k.a. our home), as well as some fresh ideas. We plan to unveil a beautiful new website, improve the shop, and start offering some new services even! But we need to know more about YOU and what you want to see from Westervin before we can implement any changes. We wouldn’t be here without you, obviously. 

Plus, we’re just really curious about our readers and customers. Who are you people?! We bet you’re so interesting. Show us how interesting you are, please and thank you and good night. 

Take the survey here!

Who Are You Pairing?

2015 Critics’ Choice Awards

The Milkmaid's Lot by Lauren Frances Adams; Keira Knightly at the 2015 Critics' Choice Awards

Image above, left to right: The Milkmaid’s Lot by Lauren Frances Adams; Keira Knightley at the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards

I’ve heard some of you are curious how I whip up these red carpet fashion & art parings. Well, I’m afraid there’s no trick to it. The main ingredient is patience. I start by selecting the red carpet looks that I find most “artful” (usually a mix of novel colors, patterns, and textures), then I search a few key sites and my saved pins for pair-able works of art. The magic happens when I compare a look and artwork side-by-side and the visual elements of each seem to sing the other’s praises. Like music to my. . . eyes.

With today’s set of awards season pairings culled from the 20th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, I feel like I’m getting into the swing of things. This post came together pretty quickly, for a change, thanks to not only a few of last night’s blue carpet celebrities who chose daring, beautiful, or just plain fun looks last night, but also my favorite websites that offer a steady supply of daring, beautiful, and just plain fun art for sale. In addition to my tried-and-true resources — Etsy, Mammoth & Co., Society6, Flickr, and ArtMgt, to name a few — I’ve added a few others to my arsenal, including 20X200, Tappan Collective, Buy Some Damn Art, Poster Cabaret, Sebastian Foster, Little Paper Planes, and Buy Olympia. So, if you’re in the market for some stellar creations to hang on your walls or gift to loved ones, peruse the variety of these well-curated collections or consider one of the pieces featured in this very Who Are You Pairing? series, which includes original artworks and more affordable prints. Then let me know which piece(s) you bought! I wanna see what you get!

But first, check out these pairs, which I’m kinda proud of. I tried to show a bit of diversity in the pairings (something sorely lacking in the Academy Award nominations announced yesterday), from strange and whimsical to bold and even humorous (I can’t help but laugh at Jared Leto sometimes). What do you think? Let me know which is your favorite in the comments. Better yet, if there was another look from the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards that you liked best, put together your own pairing and show me with a link below! 

 

Dispenser by Eyal Pinkas; Jared Leto at the 2015 Critics' Choice Awards

Image above, left to right: Dispenser by Eyal Pinkas; Jared Leto at the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards

Around the fur by Andreas Niederwieser; Lorraine Toussaint at the 2015 Critics' Choice Awards

Image above, left to right: Around the Fur by Andreas Niederwieser; Lorraine Toussaint at the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards

Strange Fish by Emma Kidd; Jamie Chung at the 2015 Critics' Choice Awards

Image above, left to right: Strange Fish by Emma Kidd; Jamie Chung at the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards

Ink 'd Pink by Becky Kemp; Mackenzie Foy at the 2015 Critics' Choice Awards

Image above, left to right: Ink ‘d Pink by Becky Kemp; Mackenzie Foy at the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards

Snakeskin by Tealia Ellis Ritter; Rosamund Pike at the 2015 Critics' Choice Awards

Image above, left to right: Snakeskin by Tealia Ellis Ritter; Rosamund Pike at the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards

Oxio No. 3 by Hamish Robertson; Carmen Ejobo at the 2015 Critics' Choice Awards

Image above, left to right: Oxio No. 3 by Hamish Robertson; Carmen Ejobo at the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards

Fine Fixin's

Flourless Chocolate Almond Cakes

Confession: We love dessert. There you go, I said it. Unfortunately, we also know that when dealing with dessert, moderation is imperative, or at least imperative at times — sometimes you just need some decadence. So while Sarah still claims to have a portion of her stomach specifically reserved for sweets, we’re trying, albeit gingerly, to make some of these sweets a bit healthier. A little less decadent, and a little less sweet.

To kick things off, we made flourless almond cakes for the new year. These little chocolate cakes are made with almond meal and honey (hey, it’s not sugar) and guess what, they’re tasty — especially with ice cream (oops, but we had to, I promise. I overcooked them just a tad, making them dry). They also get some bonus points for being simple to prepare, which I always appreciate with a dessert. If you or someone you know is trying to cut down on sugar for a New Year’s resolution, we’d definitely recommend it. . . just skip the ice cream.

 

Flourless Chocolate Almond Cakes
Serves 2
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. ½ cup raw almonds (or almond meal)
  2. 3 tablespoons butter
  3. 3 tablespoons honey
  4. ⅓ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  5. 1 egg
  6. ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  7. 1 pinch kosher salt
  8. 1 pinch cayenne
  9. 2 5-ounce ramekins
  10. 2 tablespoons sliced almonds (for garnish)
  11. powdered sugar (for garnish)
  12. additional honey (drizzled lightly on top for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. If using whole almonds, grind the almonds very finely in a food processor until the texture is light and fluffy.
  3. In a glass measuring cup or bowl, add 3 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons honey, and ⅓ cup semisweet chocolate chips. Microwave for 10 seconds intervals, stirring after each, until fully combined. (Alternatively, use the double boiler on the stove to melt the chocolate and stir in the butter and honey until fully combined.)
  4. In a medium large bowl, beat one egg with a whisk. Then add ½ cup of the almond meal, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 pinch of kosher salt, 1 pinch of cayenne pepper, and the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Butter two 5-ounce ramekins. Pour in the batter, and bake for 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out nearly clean.
Adapted from A Couple Cooks
Adapted from A Couple Cooks
Westervin http://www.westervin.com/blog/
Who Are You Pairing?

72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards

Untitled by Santiago Salvador; Julia Goldani Telles at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards

Image above, left to right: Untitled by Santiago Salvador; Julia Goldani Telles at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards

As Common said in his acceptance speech last night, Selma “awakened his humanity.” Many of the works honored at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards gave voices to those not often heard and showed us characters not often seen on screen. When searching for artworks to highlight next to the beautiful women on last night’s red carpet, I immediately thought of Chilean artist Santiago Salvador (above), who’s been a favorite of mine for a few years.

His vibrant paintings of people in kaleidescope-like formations, with cascading limbs and uniformly round noggins, offer a perfect compliment to those films and their creators that reflect our humanity. I’ve fallen in love with Salvador’s world of people, sometimes depicted in intimate positions, sometimes replicated in large patterns of innumerable tiny figures that remind me of those Magic Eye books I devoured as a kid. Such odd, colorful people.

Luckily, the untitled painting above paired beautifully with Julia Goldani Telles’ look, complete with the deep “V”s, dark hair, peachy skin tones, and the shifting shades of blue seen in the armless torsos of Salvador’s little people and the light-catching folds of Julia’s exquisitely crafted dress.

Photography by Katie Kukulka; Claire Danes at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards

Image above, left to right: Favorite Details of Scully Osterman Skylight Studio by Katie Kukulka; Claire Danes at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards

There were so many stunning gowns and suits on the red carpet last night. If I didn’t have so much laundry to do, I would have sat at my computer making pairs all day! But the fun has to stop sometime. Here are a few of my favorite looks from the red carpet and the photographs, illustrations, and paintings that mirrored each exquisite work of wearable art. My kudos, also, to Allison Tolman, Amelia Warner, Amanda Peet, Ellie Kemper, Emma Stone, and David Oyelowo for rocking some of my other favorite duds.

Fly Away by Brigitte Niedermair; Sophie Hunter and Benedict Cumberbatch at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards

Image above, left to right: Fly Away by Brigitte Niedermair; Sophie Hunter and Benedict Cumberbatch at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards

What is Visible (Smoke) by Becca Kallem; Kerry Washington at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards

Image above, left to right: What is Visible (Smoke) by Becca Kallem; Kerry Washington at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards

Thank you for BRINGING IT, Kerry. I know I can always count on you to don something unique and eye-catching, a true work of fashion art. And you’re always smokin‘!

Untitled by Antoine Caecke; Zosia Mamet at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards

Image above, left to right: Untitled by Antoine Caecke; Zosia Mamet at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards

Untitled by Natasha Newton; Jemima Kirke at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards

Image above, left to right: Untitled by Natasha Newton; Jemima Kirke at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards

Obviously, Jemima is a goddess from another world. She has come to Earth to share with us her beauty and to help us find peace, both within our fierce, creative, loving selves and with the universe. Do as she does.

Shadow in the Still Air by Valeria Kondor; Ruth Wilson at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards

Image above, left to right: Shadow in the Still Air by Valeria Kondor; Ruth Wilson at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards

Do It Yo'self

Customize A Fool-Proof DIY Calendar With Your New Year’s Resolutions

DIY calendar made with stamps, washi tape, and a 1" circle punch

It’s truth time. I, Sarah West Ervin, have never, in my 28 years of life, had a new year’s resolution. Not really. There was one year in elementary school when we learned the concept of the new year’s resolution. My pint-sized classmates and I were instructed to create three resolutions for ourselves and write them on a piece of paper that was pre-cut into a heart, or star, or some such generic shape by the teacher. I remember mulling over the exercise with a mixture of enthusiasm and confusion. I liked it, but I didn’t quite get it. Forced self-improvement and a yearly “refresh” were probably lost on eight-year-old Sarah. After that lesson, I promptly forgot those three resolutions and continued on into adulthood without ever giving the practice much serious thought.

Sure, there were years where I’d think, “Resolutions! I should do that, too.” But then I’d start thinking about something else and go about my life as usual. This year, however, on a whim, I decided to read Buzzfeed’s “9 Useful Tips To Help You Stick To Your New Year’s Resolutions.” After reading the article, the little lightbulb in my brain turned on below a thought bubble with the word “micro-resolution.” One needs only to set small, realistic goals for personal improvement. Perhaps even one micro-resolution each month of the year is the best bet for success. Just pick one simple habit you want to form, focus on it for a month, then once you’ve mastered it, graduate to your next tiny goal. It’s a simple matter of planning ahead and staying organized! And as anyone who’s completed a group project with me knows, I LOVE planning ahead and staying organized.

Challenge accepted, Buzzfeed.

I resolved to make one micro-resolution for each month of 2015 and enlist Brian’s help for solidarity. I was also quite proud of myself for coming up with the term “micro-resolutions” until a quick Google search revealed that LOTS of other people have come up with it too.

C’est la vie.

the easiest DIY calendar

This new foray into new year’s resolutions also provided an opportunity to get crafty! I figured the best way to remember each month’s micro-resolution was to create a custom calendar for the year. And in keeping with the keep-it-simple tip for resolution-making, I decided to make it the world’s easiest DIY calendar. There’s a lot to love about this project, actually.

Why This Project Is The Best:

  • It involves washi tape, and lots of it!
  • The little discs for each day of the month are cut from posters, cards, postcards, business cards, and other pretty paper pieces that Brian and I have collected over the last decade or so. This makes the calendar extra-super-special, incorporating little notes and gifts from our friends and family. But you can also buy ALL THE PRETTY PAPERS from the scrapbooking section of your local craft store.
  • The paper we used for the base was leftover from our wedding DIY projects. The specialness-meter is reading off the charts!
  • Alphabet stamps. They are so cute.
  • We ramped up the cuteness even further by turning each micro-resolution into an inspirational phrase. Who doesn’t love inspirational quotes?
  • We also got to buy a jumbo wooden clothespin, and it was less than $3! A pretty clipboard also works.
  • This project works well with multiple people for some good old fashioned togetherness.
  • You cannot mess this up. And actually, the messier you are, the better, if you ask me.
  • No measuring, no cutting, no glue, and no artistic skill required!

materials for making an easy-as-pie calendar

 What You’ll Need:

  • At least 2 rolls of washi tape
  • 12 sheets of cardstock (we used 8×10)
  • Large stack of paper ephemera for the discs (magazines, photos, and old cards work well)
  • 1″ circle punch
  • Sharpie(s)
  • 2 sizes of alphabet stamps (Michael’s had some very inexpensive sets)
  • Ink pad(s)
  • Wooden clothespin or clipboard (to hang)

arrange 1" discs on cardstock for a DIY calendar

 To Make The Calendar:

  1. Grab a friend.
  2. Make your friend and yourself a cocktail.
  3. Turn on some groovy tunes.
  4. Use your 1″ circle punch to cut 365 discs from your collection of pretty paper ephemera. This may take a while, hence the friend, cocktails, and music.
  5. Arrange 28-31 discs on each sheet of cardstock — depending on the number of days in each month, obv. Use the calendar on your phone as a guide, especially if you’re several cocktails in at this point. And don’t worry about measuring for disc placement — just eyeball it.
  6. Use little pieces of washi tape (we alternated two different colors) to affix the discs to the cardstock. Easy peasy.
  7. Use the sharpie to write the date on each disc. Again, rely on your phone calendar.

DIY washi tape calendar

DIY washi tape calendar pages on cardstock

Once you’ve completed one sheet for each month, step back and admire your handiwork. You crafty devil, you!

alphabet stamps and ink in a vintage cigar box

To Make the Headings:

  1. Maybe wait until you have sobered up from your night of whole punching and washi taping.
  2. Use the larger alphabet stamps to write out the name of each month. Again, don’t worry about it being perfect, but make sure to leave at least one inch from the top for your clothespin or clipboard.
  3. Use the smaller alphabet stamps to write your inspirational phrase. Remember, this phrase corresponds to your micro-resolution. You can write the full resolution on the back of the sheet so you don’t forget. For example, Brian and I resolve to eat less sugar this year. So in October, we’ll try one dessert recipe each week that uses no added sugar, incorporating them into our regular meal planning. We wrote the full resolution on the back, then on the front of the October sheet we wrote “Later, Sugar!”

stamp your new year's resolutions on a simple DIY calendar

the world's easiest DIY calendar

When you’re all done stamping, stack all the sheets, clip them together, and hang it up somewhere you’ll see it everyday.

hang a DIY calendar with an inexpensive jumbo clothespin

To Track Your Resolutions:

  1. For each day that you follow your micro-resolution, mark the disc for that date. You can use a sharpie to write a big X or use another stamp and some brightly colored ink. Brian and I are using stamps that say, “Oh, Snap!” and “Hey, Girl!” Because we’re saucy.
  2. Congratulate yourself for following through, and remember not to beat yourself up on days you don’t. Nobody’s perfect! Except Dolly Parton.
Who Are You Pairing?

41st Annual People’s Choice Awards

Untitled by Eva Vermeiren; Karina Smirnoff at the 41st Annual People's Choice Awards Red Carpet

Image above, left to right: Untitled by Eva Vermeiren; Karina Smirnoff at the 41st Annual People’s Choice Awards Red Carpet

Aaaah. Do you smell that? It’s a new year, my friend. Breathe it in. It’s the time for fresh starts and optimism. Good intentions and renewed beauty. And with the awakening of a new year comes a very exciting time at Westervin: awards season! I hope you’re as excited as I am to jump headfirst into more red carpet fashion and visual arts pairings! Because the fun. . . begins. . . NOW!

Universe Within by Shannon Rankin; Melissa McCarthy at the 41st Annual People's Choice Awards Red Carpet

Image above, left to right: Universe Within by Shannon Rankin; Melissa McCarthy at the 41st Annual People’s Choice Awards Red Carpet

Last night brought us the first major awards show of the season with the 41st Annual People’s Choice Awards. I have to be honest with you, though. I really struggled this time. Not only was I a little rusty, but I felt, at least at first, that last night’s red carpet looks were a little blah. Come on, celebrities! Where were you?!

Abstract Composition VIII by Jesus Perea; Kristen Bell at the 41st Annual People's Choice Awards Red Carpet

Image above, left to right: Abstract Composition VIII by Jesús Perea; Kristen Bell at the 41st Annual People’s Choice Awards Red Carpet

But after a cocktail from my trusty husband/live-in bartender and an embarrassing amount of time spent searching (the internet, my soul, the liquor cabinet), I found a few gems I could work with. From sweet and feminine to fierce and modern, the styles I picked for this set of pairings won me over in the end. For their fine art counterparts, I looked to some of my favorite artists (you may recognize Shannon Rankin, Jesús Perea, and Elise Mahan from previous pairings) for colors that complimented, compositions that mimicked, and, hopefully, a balance that made the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Exotic Matter 2 - Cube Extracted by Zachary Dean Norman; Anthony Anderson at the 41st Annual People's Choice Awards Red Carpet

Image above, left to right: Exotic Matter 2 – Cube Extracted by Zachary Dean Norman; Anthony Anderson at the 41st Annual People’s Choice Awards Red Carpet

By the time I finished this set, I had realized a few things:

  1. I am the slowest blogger in the world. This post took me a full work day to create. I need to get faster at these pairings. . .
  2. My new motto: Pair drunk, edit sober. (See what I did there?)
  3. Fashion is fun and art is meaningful. I think the reverse is also true.
  4. I sure hope our readers like seeing these “Who Are You Pairing?” posts as much as I like making them.

Sea Glass Connections by Louise van Terheijden; Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi at the 41st Annual People's Choice Awards Red Carpet

Image above, left to right: Sea Glass Connections by Louise van Terheijden; Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi at the 41st Annual People’s Choice Awards Red Carpet

For future installments, I’m looking forward to drinking more fancy cocktails (maybe a little slower, next time), getting faster, discovering new artists, and practicing this very specific and satisfying creative skill — the art of the pairing. Look out for my next posts, including the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards, BAFTA Film Awards, and Academy Awards!

Throw 5031 by Tealia Ellis Ritter; Sarah Hyland at the 41st Annual People's Choice Awards Red Carpet

Image above, left to right: Throw 5031 by Tealia Ellis Ritter; Sarah Hyland at the 41st Annual People’s Choice Awards Red Carpet

Secret Universe 03 by Elise Mahan; Jillian Rose Reed at the 41st Annual People's Choice Awards Red Carpet

Image above, left to right: Secret Universe 03 by Elise Mahan; Jillian Rose Reed at the 41st Annual People’s Choice Awards Red Carpet

Title Unknown by Anja Zaharanski; Kelly McCreary at the 41st Annual People's Choice Awards Red Carpet

Image above, left to right: Title Unknown by Anja Zaharanski; Kelly McCreary at the 41st Annual People’s Choice Awards Red Carpet

Here’s a reader poll, just for funsies! Let me know which pair you like best.

Swig & Swill

NYE Bourbon Cran-Peary Sparkler

Bourbon Cran-Peary Sparkler - perfect for New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve presents the perfect opportunity to break out a little sparkling wine and create some festive cocktails. The folks at Serious Eats had the right idea and created a pretty tasty looking roundup of sparkly cocktails. Here at the Westervin’s, we decided to take their Sparkling Bourbon Pear cocktail and bump up the winter (it’s not that cold down here in Arkansas, so we need something to remind us it’s winter, right?) with some cranberries. Despite the maple syrup, which is added to the purée, this isn’t an overly sweet cocktail. The lemon and cranberry really give it a nice tang, which along with the champagne makes for an easy drinking sipper.

Bourbon Cran-Peary Sparkler - Westervin

 

A bubbly punch cocktail for New Year's Eve: The Bourbon Cran-Peary Sparkler from Westervin

ingredients for the Bourbon Cran-Peary Sparkler - a perfect NYE cocktail

For the Purée:

  • 2 bartlett pears, cored and sliced into eighths
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh juice, from two lemons
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Large handful of cranberries
  • 1 tsp clementine zest
  • 1/2 tsp grapefruit zest
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated

For the Bourbon Cran-Peary Mixer:

  • 1 cup roasted pear puree
  • 2 cups WL Weller Special, or Bourbon of your choice
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

To Serve:

  • 2oz Bourbon Cran-Peary Mixer
  • Ice
  • Sparkling wine
  • Cranberries and ground clove to garnish

roasted pears for the Bourbon Cran-Peary Sparkler Cocktail from Westerivn

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Arrange sliced pears on parchment lined baking sheet.

Combine cranberries, 1oz water, citrus zest, and ginger in a small ramekin.

Place pears and cranberries in the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, until the pears are a bit caramelized.

Allow to cool and then place in blender with 2.5oz of lemon juice and a dash of ground cloves. Purée well.

Combine 1 cup of purée with 2 cups of bourbon and 1/2 cup of maple syrup. This is your mixer.

To create your cocktail, fill a rocks glass with ice, add 2oz of your mixer, and fill with champagne. Garnish with cranberries and ground cloves.

Adapted from Serious Eats

The Bourbon Cran-Peary Sparkler Cocktail - Westervin

A Pretty Pair

Pine(apple) Tree

Holiday Card by Julie Van Wezemael; Pineapple II Emulsion Lift Print by Liz Garnett

Holiday Card by Julie Van Wezemael }  { Pineapple II Emulsion Lift Print by Liz Garnett }

Whether your holidays are spent around a sparkling pine tree or near a fire, filled with presents from loved ones or surrounded by the presence of loved ones, in a white winterland or on a warm and sunny day, we hope you have a wonderful day. Happy holidays, from our family to yours!

Swig & Swill

Molasses Cookie Sour

Molasses Sour Cocktail - a holiday take on the whiskey sour

Planning on grabbing a bucket of eggnog to get you through all the holiday cheer?

That’s boring.

“Well, how about a peppermint martini?” you ask.

I’m offended you would even suggest that.

Let me help you out this season. If you follow my instructions for my Molasses Cookie Cocktail, you’ll not only impress your adult loved ones with an original drink that’s sweet yet sophisticated but also drown out all their nonsense with each bracing sip.

Molasses Sour Cocktail - whiskey sour with cinnamon, ginger, and holiday spices

But in all seriousness, we’ve actually got two yummy recipes for you that are fun to make around the holidays. One is a really versatile holiday spice simple syrup, and the other is a take on a whiskey sour utilizing said syrup that tastes like a molasses cookie. The syrup is a mix of classic baking spices and sorghum or molasses that’ll bring that dream of a white Christmas even closer to reality. While you can use the spiced syrup in any cocktail, we really like it in simpler classic cocktails, like an old fashioned or sour.

ingredients for a Molasses Sour Cocktail

Holiday Spice Syrup

  • 1 cup molasses or sorghum (we liked the flavor and nose of the Sorghum we had on hand best)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, crushed up
  • 1″ knob of ginger, sliced
  • 20 whole cloves
  • 5 whole allspice berries
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cardamom pod

Combine everything in a sauce pan on medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes, then remove from heat, cover, and let cool.

Once it’s cooled down, strain out the solid ingredients. Now you’ve got a holiday spice simple syrup.

Feel free to adjust this recipe to your own tastes. For instance, Sarah doesn’t like a strong ginger flavor, so I made one version omitting ginger. You could even create a separate ginger syrup that you mix in as needed on an individual cocktail basis.

So now you’ve got this syrup, but what are you supposed to do with it? Well, add it to any drink that needs a little dash of Christmas. Take any classic cocktail that calls for sugar, and give it a wallop of Christmas cheer. At Haus Westervin, we’re pretty fond of whiskey sours, which seemed like a perfect application for this syrup. We don’t always make whiskey sours up with egg whites, but it feels like the Christmas thing to do.

Molasses Cookie Sour

  • 2oz Old Weller Antique (or bourbon of your choice)
  • 1oz fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz holiday spice syrup
  • 1 egg white, optional

Dry shake all ingredients to get the egg white nice and foamy. Add ice, shake again, and strain into a coupe. Add a few drops of bitters (I used some chicory pecan bitters Sarah picked up for me on a trip to Nashville) and some freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon. Top with a star anise for extra pizzazz.

Molasses Sour Cocktail - a citrusy, christmas cookie cocktail from Westervin

 

Blog News

Westervin Turns 5!

a slice of homemade bundt cake to celebrate the Westervin blog's 5th birthday

You may not know this, but Westervin has been rocking the blog for 5 years! Yep, earlier this month marked the 5th straight year that we, Sarah and Brian, have been sharing our favorite recipes, tidbits from our lives, and all the beautiful art and handicraft that we love. Heck, we’ve been blogging longer than we’ve been married. Before we were officially engaged even!

In the grand scheme of our lives, 5 years is a small amount of time, yet between December 2009 (the official launch of this here web-log) and today, we’ve shared a seemingly infinite number of moments, big and small, of excitement and inspiration, of frustration and failures, and of accomplishment and growth. Though at times we’ve felt like we’ve outgrown our blog or we’ve put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to be constantly publishing, worrying about being original and interesting, we’re ultimately so very grateful to have had this platform. It’s given us an outlet for our respective interests and talents through which we’ve connected with countless talented folk and new friends. And now, we have a shared record of our time together. Through changing jobs, educational accomplishments, and new cities, we can look back to remember all the moments we’re most proud, if not also all the strange things we used to be into… Tastes are not timeless, apparently. At least, that’s one thing we’ve learned about ourselves.

Yes, time has certainly flown by. We thought we’d take a look through the past five years and pick out a few of our favorite and most popular posts. Journey back with us, won’t you?

2009

{ Untitled photograph by Sophia of "Five Words in Orange Neon" by Joseph Kosuth; "Dark land, pink cloud" by Louise Balaam

Image above from Daily Pretties: Neon Clouds, posted Dec. 28, 2009, featuring untitled photograph by Sophia of Five Words in Orange Neon by Joseph Kosuth & Dark land, pink cloud by Louise Balaam

Though we only officially blogged for one month in 2009, that year saw the beginning of many of our favorite blog categories, including one that Sarah’s stuck with since the very first week: A Pretty Pair (formerly Daily Pretties). Can we call this her signature category? Over the years she’s perfected the art of pairing, searching for two works — whether photography, painting, illustration, or other — from two unrelated artists that speak the same visual language. In the words of Stacey and Clinton, it doesn’t match, it goes.

Also, through the magic of the pretty pair, we announced our engagement, way back on December 29, 2009, with this post titled Some Special News. It’s like… we are a pretty pair! Ya know?

2010

Sailor Necklace from the Vamoose

Image above from Giveaway: Sailor Necklace from The Vamoose, posted April 19, 2010

Twenty-ten was the year of the giveaway. In that year, we had 14 giveaways! That’s more giveaways than months! Each one featured something beautiful, usually handmade, generously gifted by someone talented and kind. A few shout-outs to our most memorable sweepstakes:

  • The first: Shannon Rankin and Justin Richel gave away a stellar print from their collaborative project Intersect.
  • The most popular: Kathryn Blackmore gave away a Sailor Knot Necklace from her romantic jewelry line The Vamoose, which still offers gorgeous handmade pieces.
  • Our favorite: Lorena Marañon offered one of her wildly popular embroidered necklaces to try to help us win a dream wedding sweepstakes. Sadly, we didn’t win, but we still had a dream wedding! Lorena’s now whipping up painfully stunning textiles-based jewelry, housewares, and art pieces.
  • The one that lead to our custom wedding rings: Marina Lampropoulou gave a lucky reader a pair of Blue Bird Oval Hoop earrings from her contemporary handmade jewelry line tothemetal. The next year, we had her make our custom arrow wedding bands.
  • The one that lead to the best pen-pal ever: Lisa Bruemmer Drake offered one of her striking lace necklaces, also to help us win the dream wedding sweepstakes. She later became the BEST PEN-PAL EVER!

I could keep going until I’ve listed them all, or if you want, you can just peruse all our past giveaways here. Join our mailing list to be notified when we have another one!

2011

Westervin's handmade save-the-dates, embroidered on vintage postcards

Image above from A Westervin Wedding: Save the Dates Revealed, posted April 4, 2011

Our second full year of blogging was all about our wedding, from the announcements, planning updates, and DIY projects to the series of posts sharing all the photos and our reflections from, arguably, the most fun day of our lives. Man, what a ride!

See all the posts under A Westervin Wedding, which also includes posts celebrating each of our three anniversaries since. You can even check out all of our wedding pinspiration on Sarah’s Pinterest board A Wedding for Westervin. Truth be told, she still pins wedding-y things. The girl loves weddings.

2012

Margarita Jello Shots in Lemon Wedges - Westervin blog

Image above from World Party Day: Margarita Jello Shots, posted March 29, 2013

In 2012 we were really hitting our stride and created some of our most popular posts. A few of our favorites:

  • Edible booze: We created a margarita jello shot for world party day.  We made way too many of these jello filled booze lemons, but people seemed to like them.
  • Taking care of business: Sarah posted the results of her Who Buys Handmade survey, which still offers a valuable look at the handmade market for makers.
  • Sweet treats: We were lucky enough to have Debbie Carlos, who just can’t stop doing amazing things, guest blog for us and share a recipe for a 60-second cake in a cup, which has become a dessert staple at the Westervin’s. Debbie’s large-scale photo prints and other work can be seen everywhere from Urban Outfitters, J. Crew, and CB2 to Apartment Therapy, Better Homes & Gardens, HGTV, and even an episode of Parenthood.
  • Fancy cocktail post: Brian was hired to create a signature cocktail for Poetry magazine’s centennial celebration. It was called the Hippocrene, and it got a nice writeup on the New York Times Drinks blog.
  • Glitz and glamour: Sarah created a spinoff of the classic pretty pair category, Who are You Pairing, which pairs red carpet looks and some awesome art.

2013

handmade crochet beanie with stripes and pom-pom from Westervin

Image above from Westervin Shop Now Open, posted December 2, 2013

2013 was the start of the Westervin craft movment. Sure, we’d covered craft before (with the Who Buys Handmade survey, and featured handmade wares and independent artisans), but 2013 was the launch of the Westervin shop! Starting her own shop had Sarah thinking even more about craft in general, it’s history and it’s relation to art. A few highlights:

2014

10 Tips For Your First Wholesale Order -- For Makers, From Westervin

Image above from 10 Things I Learned From My First Wholesale Order, Part 1, posted November 19, 2014

While 2013 was the start of the Westervin craft movement, 2014 found us moving away from ruminations on art vs craft and taking a closer look at the nuts and bolts of running a craft business. It’s important to us to share what we learn along the way so that other aspiring crafters can learn from our mistakes and, hopefully, our successes. Highlights include:

It’s been a really fun five years, and we hope that in 2015 we can come up with some more useful, fun, and entertaining content for all of you. Thanks for spending some time with us!