A Fine Design, Blog News, The Business of Making

Free Graphic Design Services from DesignEgg

DesignEgg scamp trailer

{ Design Egg: Good Design for Great Ideas }

I’m excited to announce the launch of an innovative new initiative, for which I am extremely honored to play a small part. Crowdfunded through one of Kickstarter’s most popular design campaigns, DesignEgg is a one-year, traveling program offering free graphic design services to worthy artists, small businesses, and not-for-profit organizations in need across the US. Over the next year, $25,000 worth of DesignEgg credits will be awarded! Yeah, $25,000 worth of free graphic design!

the DesignEgg team: Pickle, Andy Wickstrom, and Jess Mott Wickstrom

 { Andy, Jess, and Pickle in their new home for the next 11 months }

This amazing project is the brainchild of Andy Wickstrom and Jess Mott Wickstrom (with help from Pickle, I’m sure). This dream team’s many talents include studio art & photography, curating, arts management, rock-climbing, being all-around amazing individuals, and, of course, expert graphic design skills. Since 2003, Jess and Andy have been working with artists, arts organizations, small businesses, and record labels, including The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, DePaul University, and The Ravi Shankar Foundation/East Meets West Music, to name but a few, and developing a notable portfolio through their graphic design business, Wickstrom Design.

inside the DesignEgg scamp trailer

{ inside the freshly renovated DesignEgg trailer }

I was thrilled when Jess and Andy asked me to be part of the DesignEgg selection committee and quickly humbled when I saw the intimidatingly impressive group of arts, education, and business professionals I would be joining. Luckily, I managed to overcome a brief bout of impostor syndrome and told them that OF COURSE I would join their committee. Who wouldn’t?

interior redesign of the DesignEgg scamp trailer

{ Pickle approves of the scamp re-design }

So my friends, family, and kind readers, if, after learning about DesignEgg, you thought to yourself, “Hey, I could really use some free graphic design services,” then don’t hesitate. Apply now! The application process is pretty simple (just answer a few questions and explain your graphic design needs), and the DEADLINE IS NOVEMBER 1.

mountain view from the DesignEgg travels

{ DesignEgg travels through Colorado }

You just can’t help but be inspired by these fine folks! Follow the scamp as Andy, Jess, and Pickle traverse the US in their beautifully renovated trailer — climbing mountains, meeting talented individuals, exploring admirable organizations, and taking breathtaking photos of this great country! Join the DesignEgg newsletter to stay up to date (e.g. application reminders), follow the duo on Instagram/Twitter/their Blog, and help spread the word!

DesignEgg visits Anderson Ranch with Pickle, their pit-bull mix mascot

{ a visit to Anderson Ranch }

beautiful adventures by DesignEgg

{ DesignEgg journeys to Utah }

DesignEgg adventures

{ DesignEgg, 100% cage-free since 2014 }

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!