Swig & Swill

Supreme

The Supreme Cocktail {Westervin Blog}

You’re sitting at home in the evening, the sun readying itself to set. The crisp air of early fall is creeping in through your open windows. Perhaps you’re sitting with your significant other or a group of favorite friends. Perhaps you’re alone enjoying a moment of quiet. Your eyes rest somewhere in the distance, unfocused and still. You reach beside you to pick up a champagne saucer filled a new cocktail creation you decided to try tonight. Its balance of sweet and tart is complimented beautifully by it’s thick, smooth texture and bright, rosy hue. With each sip, your throat warms, then your chest and your arms, and you sink a little more into your chair with each exhale. This is the life. Bring on the season of changing leaves, cozy sweaters, and frequent celebrations!

The Supreme Cocktail - tart, sweet, and perfect for fall {Westervin Blog}

What is this elixir? It’s the Supreme. The citrus and grenadine really bring out the apple flavors of Applejack or Calvados making this a great beginning-of-fall cocktail:

Supreme

1½ oz. Calvados
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. orgeat
1 barspoon grenadine

shake and strain.

Recipe from Eric Johnson, Trou Normand, San Francisco via Imbibe Magazine

Note that we used Applejack since we didn’t have Calvados on hand. I preferred Laird’s bonded variety over their regular offering, but both were good. We also whipped up some homemade orgeat and grenadine, but you can use nice store-bought versions if you don’t have some spare hours to steep almonds in sugar. And if you can’t find, or don’t want to make orgeat, just make a Jack Rose, which is another one of our fall favorites.

Perfect for the transition to fall: The Supreme Cocktail {Westervin Blog}

What you'll need for The Supreme cocktail {Westervin Blog}

Craft Contexts

Westervin F/W 2014 Inspiration

Westervin F/W 2014 Inspiration:  Above Home Floor Mat by Hlynur Atlason

{ Above Home Floor Mat by Hlynur Atlason }

Inspiration is a fickle mistress. She visits without warning, and, when needed most, she’s nowhere to be found. But we can’t quit her.

Westervin F/W 2014 Inspiration:  Hand-Knit Headband by Camelotia

{ Hand-Knit Headband by Camelotia }

Fall is nearly here, but I have little to show for a new collection in the Westervin shop. I’ve let myself get too distracted by freelance work, the stress of taking care of a new home, and some pressures in my personal life. But I can’t quit! I won’t give up on Inspiration.

Westervin F/W 14 Inspiration: "Thinking About Water" by Sarah Ferone

 { Thinking About Water by Sarah Ferone }

To ease into the roller-coaster ride that is the creative process, I’ve forced myself to look at the work of others — crocheters, knitters, and fiber artists, as well as artists and fashion designers. This process proves both motivating and intimidating, as I cycle through the enlivening sparks of creativity and the fears of not measuring up. Hopefully, inspiration will take over before my insecurities get the best of me.

Westervin F/W 2014 Inspiration: Scout Top from Need Supply Co.

{ Scout Top from Need Supply Co. }

Large, flat shapes. Pale, neutrals broken up by bright metallics and bolder colors. Rich textures. Headbands and a semicircle clutch. These are the lovely things I’ve found from talented makers that are inspiring me today.

Westervin F/W 2014 Inspiration: Semi-Wallet by Georgie Cummings

{ Semi-Wallet Clutch by Georgie Cummings }

I can only cross my fingers… and my toes and arms and legs… and hope that I’m able to create a few things that are at least half as lovely as these.

Westervin F/W 2014 Inspiration: Miss Fortune Tank by The Handy Studio

{ Miss Fortune Tank by The Handy Studio }

But if not, I guess there’s always next season.

Westervin F/W 2014 Inspiration: "Shelter II" by Liz Toohey-Wiese

Shelter II by Liz Toohey-Wiese }

A Westervin Wedding, Blog News

Three Years Down, Forever To Go

sprinkle donuts for the Westervin's 3rd wedding anniversary

Guess what?! On September 3, we celebrated our third anniversary! This was a pretty exciting anniversary because we realized a new anniversary tradition that we really should have thought of before. Anniversary doughnuts!

bag of fresh doughnut holes for the Westervin's 3rd wedding anniversary

We didn’t have cake at our wedding, we had doughnuts, so of course we should eat some doughnuts every year! How did it take us three years to think of this? Oh well, we still have a lifetime ahead of us, so I guess it’s never too late.

a sprinkle doughnut with candles for the Westervin's 3rd wedding anniversary

This year’s doughnuts came from the Donut Palace here in Fort Smith. We caught them just before they closed and snatched up some tasty sprinkled and glazed doughnuts. The friendly staff there even threw in a free bag of doughnut holes, which we nearly finished off before getting back home…

champagne saucers to celebrate the Westervin's 3rd wedding anniversary

Before heading off to dinner and a movie that evening, we shared a little bubbly.

Westervin Wedding: handmade leather wedding ring bands with arrow design

And, of course, what Westervin anniversary would be complete without some new rings? This year, in reverence to our “leather anniversary“, we picked out a pair of leather rings that keep the arrow motif of our original wedding band set. While a little higher maintenance than metal rings (we have to be very careful not to get them wet), we think they turned out beautifully. They were handmade by Cassandra Silva of Oil Rose Collection. According to Cassandra, the arrow motifs represent friendship and protection.

Sarah was also inspired this year (because she doesn’t always take her own advice about staying motivated in her creative practice) to make a more modern/interesting list of anniversary gift recommendations for us to loosely follow in the future. You can follow along with us!

Sarah West Ervin and Brian West 2013-2014

I’d say our third year of marriage was one of the most interesting ones yet. Sarah finished school, started a business, and we moved to Arkansas! Let’s hope four can compete.

Shopping Sherpa

Mug Mania

My name is Sarah, and I have a problem. I can’t stop collecting mugs.

My slow descent into mug-mania started in college. I’d hit up the local thrift stores, prowling for vintage mugs featuring bold, ’60s prints in bright reds, blues, and greens. Before long, I had amassed a reasonably sized collection of mismatched but beautiful vintage mugs. Then things got a little out of hand when Brian and I got married. We spent weeks leading up to our nuptials collecting even more mugs to use during the reception meal. We served breakfast for dinner with a doughnut tower and fresh coffee instead of a traditional wedding cake. This prolonged mug-hunt really solidified my habit. After the big day, I was able to part with a few, giving some away to friends, donating several more, but then we put the rest in storage. The added sentimental value has made them hard to part with…

To make matters worse, my mug-lovin’ has recently expanded to include the uneven shapes, rough edges, and unusual patterns of handmade mugs. I’ve been able to sneak a few into our already unwieldy stockpile, and I’ve got my wandering eye on a few more. More than a few, really. I want ALL THE MUGS.Westervin Roundup: handmade mugs from  Self Press Studio, Leah Ball, Laurie Goldstein, and Recreation Center Ceramics

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: { Self Press Studio } { Leah Ball } { Recreation Center via More & Co. } { Laurie Goldstein }

There’s nothing like a sweet little mug in soft blues to greet you in the morning. The one above from Self Press Studio seems to say, “Good Morning! High five!” The marbled swirl pattern of Leah Ball’s mug reminds me of whispery clouds, and Laurie Goldstein’s collection of “couples” mugs would make for a perfect cup of coffee from your partner. Brian surprised me with one of these Recreation Center mugs for my birthday! It is perfection.

Westervin Roundup: handmade mugs from Jake Vinson, Meilen Collaborative, Tabby Both, and BTW Ceramics

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: { Jake Vinson via Pour Porter } { Meilen Collaborative } { Tabby Booth } { BTW Ceramics }

I want to get lost in one of Jake Vinson’s constellation mugs, filled to the brim with dark, swirling coffee. For weekend mornings when Brian and I get to lounge about together, I’d happily share either of the above sets (by Meilen Collaborative and BTW Ceramics) and a seat at our bay windows. This odd and exquisite mug by Tabby Booth, however, I would not share. It would be mine, mine, mine! Gimme.

Wester Roundup: handmade mugs from Eeli Art Studio, Pigeon Toe Ceramics, Vegetabowls, Connie Licthi

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: { Eeli Art Studio } { Pigeon Toe } { Vegetabowls } { Connie Lichti via Gorman }

While I don’t usually drink tea, I could make an exception for this precious dotted teacup from Eeli Art Studio, which reminds me of dewey marigolds. This cubism-esque tumbler from Pigeon Toe Ceramics perfectly reflects my view of the world before I’ve had my coffee — it doesn’t make sense and I don’t care. For this amazing cantaloupe mug from Vegetables, I would split its duties between that sweet, sweet bean juice in the morning and fresh fruit juice in the afternoon. And Connie Lichti’s mod speckled mug is so pleasing to the eye, I kinda want to string it up and wear it as a necklace. Would that be weird…?

Westervin Roundup: handmade mugs from Creature Cups, Bridget Bodenham, Covet & Ginger, and Dahlhaus

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT:  { Creature Cups } { Bridget Bodenham via Mr Kitly } { Covet & Ginger via Scoutmob } { Dahlhaus }

Wouldn’t it be funny if you bought this crocodile surprise cup from Creature Cups for a friend/lover/partner-in-crime and made them a cup of coffee really early and then they drank enough to reveal the croc’s snout and teeth but they didn’t notice for a while because they’re still pretty drowsy and then they look down and see its terrifying face and for the tiniest of brief seconds they were shocked and thoroughly confused and let out a little shriek with a bit of jump? Wouldn’t that be funny?! If you don’t think so, I’m sure you’d still appreciate any of these other subtler handmade mugs (from Bridget Bodenham, Covet & Ginger, and Dahlhaus), in soft reptilian greens with speckles, spots, and dots.

Westervin Roundup: handmade mugs from Ben Feiss, Jenn Erickson, Xenia Taler, and Red Raven Studios

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: { Ben Feiss via Leif } { Jenn Erickson } { Xenia Taler via Leif } { Red Raven Studios }

And now for the sherbet-inspired portion of our mug collection! I’d let any of these happy numbers pull double-duty for a little summer-time dessert. I’m imagining Ben Feiss’ mug filled with mango smoothie, Jenn Erickson’s holding a delectable lemon parfait, while refreshing froyo and more candy toppings than you can shake a stick at fill Xenia Taler’s eye print mug, and Red Raven Studios’ mug brims with sliced peaches drizzled in honey and smothered in whipped cream. Mmmmm….. *wipes away drool* What were we talking about? Coffee! Right. Well, any way you fill ‘em, these handmade mugs would surely fill your day with a little extra sunshine. I’ll take one of each!

Who Are You Pairing?

The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards

Who Are You Pairing? Michelle Dockery and Karen Anne Glick

 

Michelle Dockery }  { Karen Anne Glick }

Who Are You Pairing? Teyonah Parris and Jesus Perea

{ Teyonah Parris }  { Jesús Perea }

Who Are You Pairing? Kelly Osbourne and Jessica Harrison

{ Kelly Osbourne }  { Jessica Harrison }

Who Are You Pairing? Louise Roe and Rosanna Webster

{ Louise Roe }  { Rosanna Webster }

Who Are You Pairing? Kiernan Shipka and Michele Quan

{ Kiernan Shipka }  { Michele Quan }

Who Are You Pairing?

2014 MTV Video Music Awards

Who Are You Pairing? Brandi Cyrus and Georgiana Paraschiv

{ Brandi Cyrus } { Georgiana Paraschiv }

Who Are You Pairing? Jillian Rose Reed and Linn Warme

{ Jillian Rose Reed }  { Linn Warme }

Who Are You Pairing? Jessie J and Shauna Finn

{ Jessie J }  { Shauna Finn }

Who Are You Pairing? Kim Kardashian and Michelle Furlong

{ Kim Kardashian }  { Michelle Furlong }

Who Are You Pairing? Sarah Hyland and Leila Jeffreys

{ Sarah Hyland }  { Leila Jeffreys }

Who Are You Pairing? Chloë Grace Moretz and Max Colby

{ Chloë Grace Moretz }  { Max Colby }

Who Are You Pairing? Mary Lambert and Tali Yalonetzki

{ Mary Lambert }  { Tali Yalonetzki

Fine Fixin's

Strawberry Chiffon Pie

Westervin's Fine Fixin's: Strawberry Chiffon Pie Recipe

Summer is in full swing here in Arkansas! The sun is shining, and the humidity is through the roof. Stepping outside is like stepping into a sauna. A sauna with mosquitos… The plus side, however, is that summer fruits are plentiful! And while fruit is great on it’s own, sometimes the old sweet tooth takes over and you start craving a decadent fruit dessert. On a recent occasion, we turned to Cook’s Country for a recipe for Strawberry Chiffon Pie. It was amazing. Light and sweet, it’s perfect for summer, plus you only need to bake the crust (or buy one if you’re into shortcuts), which means you don’t have to heat up the whole house.

A Slice of Strawberry Chiffon Pie - Recipe from Westervin

INGREDIENTS

CRUST

1 (5.3-ounce) box shortbread cookies, broken into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

FILLING

2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

2 tablespoons water

12 ounces strawberries, hulled (2 1/2 cups), plus 8 ounces strawberries, hulled, halved, and sliced thin (1 1/3 cups)

3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 large egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled

Light and Refreshing Strawberry Chiffon Pie - Recipe on the Westervin blog

Instructions

  1. FOR THE CRUST: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 9-inch pie plate. Process cookies, sugar, and salt in food processor until finely ground, about 1 minute. Add almonds and pulse until coarsely chopped, about 8 pulses. Add melted butter and pulse until combined, about 10 pulses. Transfer crumb mixture to pie plate. Using bottom of dry measuring cup, press crumbs evenly into bottom and up sides of plate. Bake until crust is golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. Let crust cool completely on wire rack, about 30 minutes. (Crust can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours.)
  1. FOR THE FILLING: Sprinkle gelatin over water in small bowl and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Process hulled whole strawberries in food processor until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl and press on solids to extract 1 cup of juice; discard solids. Whisk 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and strawberry juice together in small saucepan.
  1. Bring juice mixture to simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, whisk in gelatin mixture until dissolved. Transfer to large bowl, stir in lemon juice, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  1. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip whites to soft, billowy mounds, about 1 minute. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whip until glossy, stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk one-third of meringue into cooled strawberry mixture until smooth. Fold remaining meringue into strawberry mixture until only few white streaks remain.
  1. In now-empty mixer bowl, whip cream on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Gently fold whipped cream into strawberry mixture until no white streaks remain. Fold in sliced strawberries. Spoon filling into crust and spread into even layer using back of spoon. Refrigerate pie for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. Serve.

from Cook’s Country, August/September 2014

Westervin Blog: Recipe for Strawberry Chiffon Pie

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Blog News, Westervin Shop

Summer 2014

If you’ve wondered where Brian and I have been all summer, well, let me tell ya.

Sarah West Ervin graduates from Columbia College Chicago and moves to Arkansas

1. I graduated! In May of 2014, after three long years of evening classes and weekend papers, I donned my billowy gown and square cap to receive my masters hood and my Master of Arts Management degree in Arts Business and Entrepreneurship from Columbia College Chicago.

2. To celebrate, Brian and I spent a nice weekend with his parents and sister and a few of my classmates-turned-best-friends. We laughed. We cried (from laughter). We drank a lot of margaritas!

3. THEN WE PACKED UP OUR LIVES AND MOVED TO ARKANSAS. That’s right, folks. If you haven’t heard, we’re living in Fort Smith now, and we plan to be here for the next two years.

4. Arkansas, the land of fried-foods-a-plenty.

the new Arkansas home of Sarah West Ervin and Brian West

5. We’re living in this beast of a house, which is just a short walk and an evener shorter bike ride from the downtown strip and the Arkansas river. The house belongs to my mother, and Brian and I are doing our best to fix it up for her while she and my little brother live near my grandmother in Louisiana. This will be an adventure.

6. As an historic home—close to 100 years old, I believe—it’s full of old timey charm and interesting quirks. More on that to come…

7. My favorite part? The house is big enough for me to have my very own studio! It’s a dream come true. It’s all a bit of a mess right now as we search for furniture and storage solutions, but I can’t wait to show you the progress.

8. We also love having our own outdoor space, complete with a porch swing and our little herbs. Pictured above are Umberto, the chocolate mint, and Dilly, our sweet baby dill plant.

Sarah West Ervin's new haircut and birthday fun

9. Not long after we got here, I decided to get a haircut. Yup, I had it all chopped off!

10. This is Sugars! We found her on our porch during a rainstorm. She was near death, so we rushed her to the emergency vet clinic, got her some medicine and nursed her back to relative health over a few days. Unfortunately, we couldn’t keep her, nor could we find anyone to adopt her. In the end we had to take her to the Humane Society, where they said they’d take good care of her and find her a happy home. It broke my heart to say goodbye to her tiny precious face, but our own two cats (the little rascals) are about all we can handle.

11. I turned 28! My birthday celebrations were just perfect and included many beautiful handmade presents, breakfast in bed, flea market fun, digging in the mud for diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds State Park, and a picture-perfect picnic. I’m so grateful to everyone who called, texted, visited, and sent happy wishes in the mail!

12. We didn’t find any diamonds, but we did find a lot of mud!

Brian West and Sarah Ervin attend the weddings of Sarah and Patrick Staub; Carolyn Sybesma and Ali Porter

13. We got to travel to Miami for the wedding of Brian’s very nice cousin Patrick and his sweet bride Sara. The guests were warm and friendly, the food was delish, and music was lively. We had a blast!

14. After the wedding, the Wests took a family vacation to Key West. Man, oh man, was it a perfect trip.

15. & 16. A week later, we got to travel back to Chicago to be a part of the wedding of two of our dearest friends, Carolyn & Ali. I even got to be the flower girl! It was so nice to spend time with our besties again in Chicago. I miss you all already!

 

Westervin Handmade Shop Update

17. & 18. Since we’ve been back, I’ve been busy as a bumble bee making some new items for the Westervin shop.

19. & 20. And I’ve been making plans for selling at craft fairs this holiday season. Brian helped me whip up some booth displays.

So that’s what we’ve been up to. Now that our lives have settled down a bit, you’ll be hearing more from us regularly. Stay tuned!

Sponsors

Sponsored Post: Blake Brody Flats

Westervin Sponsor: Blake Brody Ballet Flats

A lovely lady named Christine recently saw my Bustle piece on ethical shoe options and reached out to me to tell me about Blake Brody‘s line of ballet flats. According to Christine, Blake developed these shoes in consulation with Dr. Louis Gally, the podiatrist to the Rockettes and an expert in dance health.

The resulting product line is a “luxe version of a wellness shoe.”

As a vegetarian, Blake has chosen to use only environmentally conscious and humane (vegan) materials that do not include any animal products or toxic chemicals. These cute little kicks are both good for your feet and eco-friendly! The anti-microbial, moisture-wicking ultrasuede lining is made from 100% recycled post-industrial matter, the fully padded footbed is composed of soy-based recycled Poron, and the recyclable rubber for the soles is specially prepared for re-use in secondary compounds.

Westervin Sponsor: Blake Brody Flats

Christine and Blake were kind enough to send me over a pair of my choosing to try out. I opted for the “Kate” flat in the “Nude Lizard” option.

For the outfit above, I paired these high-end shoes with an almost completely second-hand outfit (save for my undergarments!). The top and skirt are from my latest trip to Goodwill, courtesy of a gift card from my sister-in-law (she knows me well). The belt came with a vintage dress I bought many moons ago, perhaps from the Goodwill outlet store in St. Louis, where you pay by the pound (!), but I can’t remember for sure. On my wrist is a collection of slinky bracelets, handmade and gifted by a couple of friends (Dotter Studio and AHC), as well as a vintage watch from my grandmother.

Westervin Sponsor: Blake Brody Ballet Flat in Nude Faux Lizard Skin

When my chosen flats arrived, I noticed that the color wasn’t quite the bright, creamy ivory pictured. They turned out to be a bit of a darker, grayer shade, which I like better anyway.

But how comfortable are they? One word: wowee. They are truly 100% comfortable—so soft, smooth, and cushiony on the inside. Slipping them on for the first time felt like a gentle hug on my feet. The first day I wore them out was a scorcher, terribly muggy and hot, so my feet got a little sweaty after a while. But I’ve since worn them around, indoors and out, and haven’t experienced that problem again. I even wore them out for a long walk in the park down by the Arkansas river, which featured some mixed terrain and which usually makes my feet a little sore if I’m not wearing my athletic shoes. These felt great the entire walk, and my feet weren’t sore afterward!

I’d say these would be perfect for a vacation where you’d be doing a lot of sightseeing, shopping, and generally walking around all day. If, that is, you can afford the splurge. At $275, these aren’t your average throw-away flats.

Westervin Blog: Faux Lizard Skin Flats from Blake Brody

Blake’s in-studio footwear is considerably more affordable, though. Seems like these soft, elasticized ballerina flats would be perfect for regular yoga practice! Please check out Blake Brody’s ethical wellness flats, and let me know if you get a pair for yourself!

Shopping Sherpa

Red, White & Denim

Westervin: Red, White & Denim

 

Top Row:  { Caddie Sandal from Sole Society } { Annabelle Bracelet by Jaclyn Mayer } { Chambray Shirt Dress from Rue La La }

Center: { Cynthia Zamaria’s House Tour on Apartment Therapy }

Bottom Row: { Retro Headband from C’est bon pour c’ que t’as } { Pana Clutch by Proud Mary } { Sea Fan Print from Alga Net }