Out & About

Screenprinting Party

red wine and a handmade screenprint tote bag

I feel like I’ve joined an elite club of hip craftsters. I know how to screenprint! Well, I had a couple glasses of wine during my screenrprinting lesson, so I might not be able to recall all the details. I think I’ve got the general idea, though!

Lillstreet & Events by Willow

Because I’m working with the Lillstreet Art Center this summer on a series of DIY video tutorials, including “How to Screenprint a Onesie”, I was invited to one of their new art parties to actually see how it’s done. Claire (pictured above left) put together a fun screenprinting party for some ladies and bloggers-about-town, including myself and my good pal LB. The ladies behind Events By Willow (pictured above center and right) brought the wine and yummy snacks!

 

mini cupcakes, empenadas, and smoked salmon sandwiches

red wine and new friends

Laura Bock drinkin' wine and gettin' ready to screenprint

Thanks for coming along, LB!

putting on aprons

After we filled our tummies, we grabbed our aprons, and the fun began. I don’t want to give too much away about the process — you’ll have to wait for our video to learn how to screenprint yourself. But the following pictures from Lillstreet’s photographer & videographer, Joe Tighe (and instagrams from me!) should give you an idea of how much fun it is!

screenprinting on fabric at Lillstreet

screenprinting inks in all colors

screenprinting squeegees

Lillstreet teacher, Nora, shows us gals how to screenprint

screenprinting demonstration at Lillstreet

screenprinting tote bags

learning how to screenprint

screenprinting

screenprinting a vintage, neon telephone onto a tote bag

revealing their screenprinted totes

Sarah West Ervin is very happy with her screenprinted tote bag

vintage bicycle screenprint tote Laura Bock

screenprinting tote bag party at Lillstreet with Events by Willow

Sarah West Ervin and Laura Bock show off their handmade screenprint totes

If you just can’t wait for our video to find out how to be a cool screenprinter like me and LB, look for short workshops at local art centers or screenprinting studios. You might be surprised at how affordable they can be. Lillstreet will even host a private screenprinting party for you and your crafty buddies. I think I know what I want to do for my birthday (hint hint, Brian…)!

Featured, Out & About

Dollymoon: Louisville

21 C Hotel in Lousville, Kentucky

We’ve been dragging out our Dollymoon recaps for awhile, but now it’s time for our final look back. After taking in the fine sights, smells, and tastes of Woodford Reserve distillery, we headed further west to Louisville to spend two days dining, relaxing, and exploring the so-called “Austin of Kentucky.”

infinity mirror in 21 C

We decided to stay at the 21c Museum Hotel, which is part art gallery, part hotel located right downtown. It sounds a little strange, but it was definitely cool to be living in a place surrounded by art installations for a few days (like the infinity bulbs in the elevator, pictured above).

21 C Hotel room

Our room was minimalistic and modern with smart and whimsical touches throughout like the rubber ducky in the shower.

exposed brick in a 21 C Hotel room

bird art in Proof on Main in Louisville, Kentucky

We ate at Proof on Main the first night, which is a fairly fancy restaurant located within 21c. It tends to get pretty good reviews, but we were a bit disappointed. The food just didn’t quite meet our expectations.

Brian West and Sarah Ervin in Proof on Main in Louisville, Kentucky

bison burger from Proof on Main

Louisville Slugger manufacturing building

Downtown Louisville is also home to the Louisville Slugger factory, which you can peer into from the street. If you are having trouble locating the factory, just look for the really large replica of Babe Ruth’s bat outside!

Louisville Slugger and golden David statues in Kentucky

There was full moon on our walk…

Brian West falls in love with a red penguin from Louisville's 21 C hotel

And Brian met a friendly penguin.

Hillbilly Tea in Louisville, Kentucky

Our final full Kentucky day started out at Hillbilly Tea, which had an incredibly charming aesthetic and some great food and…well, tea. The iced mint green tea was just perfect for the weather.

Louisville's Hillbilly Tea

vegan pancake breakfast from Hillbilly Tea in Louisville, Kentucky

Next up was a stop at Glassworks for a walk-in glassmaking workshop, which turned out to be a major highlight for Sarah. After just a few minutes of instruction, we were on our way to making a little Arkansas shaped magnet and a ring for Sarah. Talk about honeymoon keepsakes!

making glass magnets at Louisville's Glassworks

Glassworks studio in Louisville, Kentucky

The whole process was surprisingly simple and fun.

blue, green, and red glass fragments at Louisville's Glasswords

glass owls

Within the Glassworks building was also the Flame Run gallery filled with colorful glass creations, including the owl bobbleheads above. That’s right–their little owl heads bobbled!

handmade glass ornaments and vases

Flame Run glass studio

We even got to see some glassblowers in action!

glass artwork at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville

Next we walked down to the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft to see their current exhibit, 50 Years of Studio Glass. Their were some beautiful glass pieces, and some fun glass pieces, and some downright weird glass pieces.

tacos from Louisville's Taco Punk

All that craft and culture made us hungry, so we headed to Taco Punk in Butchertown for some radically scrumptious tacos and guac.

Taco Punk in Louisville, Kentucky

Scout in Louisville, Kentucky

Then we perused the eclectic shops in the area, including Scout, a super fun home decor & jewelry boutique. Sarah snagged a handmade necklace and a peanut eraser.

interesting housewares at Louisville's Scout

baby limb figurines at Scout in Louisville, Kentucky

Gifthorse in Louisville, Kentucky

We also found some deals and a tired dog at gifthorse.

fashion and accessories at Louisville's Gifthorse

Dot Fox in Louisville, Kentucky

Before calling it a day, we headed up Bardstown Road and stopped in Dot Fox where we got some fun cards and Sarah snagged some snazzy clothes.

fashion and accessories at Louisville's Dot Fox

cool women's fashions at Louisville's Dot Fox

The final stop on our shopping excursion was Why Louisville for some souvenir T-shirts and a few postcards.

Brian West, the strongman, and Sarah Ervin, the bearded lady

shopping in Louisville, Kentucky

We had to head back to the hotel and take a break (and take inventory), before heading out to dinner at the Blind Pig. If you happened to follow our last trip to Louisville, you might remember this was one of our favorites restaurants. It didn’t let us down this time, either.

The Blind Pig in Louisville, Kentucky

Before saying goodbye to the South and heading back North to Chicago, we took a walk to the Ohio river.

The Ohio River

And said hello to the Belle of Louisville. Maybe we’ll take a boat ride next time. We can’t wait to go back…

The Belle of Louisville riverboat

Featured, Out & About

Dollymoon: Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve

I bet you thought we were done talking about our Dollymoon, huh? Well guess again! We had enough fun to fill a million blog recaps!!! But don’t worry–we’ll just boil the rest down to two more posts.

bottles of Woodford Reserve bourbon

After bidding farewell to Gatlinburg and Dollywood, it was on to Louisville. Along the way, we passed through Bourbon/horse country, which meant we had to make at least one quick stop for a distillery tour.

Woodford Reserve building

We chose to stop in Versailles, Kentucky to check out Woodford Reserve because it was pretty easy to get to while still seeming pretty rural.

Woodford Reserve barrels and chocolate bourbon

Overall, Woodford is a pretty small operation, and we got to see most of it. They were fermenting a chocolate rye while we were there, which smelled amazing. I can’t wait to try some…in five or so years when it’s ready.

Woodford Reserve distillery tour

Past the fermentor tanks were the three stills, which are from Scotland.

Woodford Reserve limestone building and bourbon barrel tracks

We saw that after the spirits work their way through the stills, they are barreled and rolled along a track to the aging warehouse.

barrels of Woodford Reserve bourbon

I think the aging warehouse may have been our favorite part. Just upon walking into the warehouse, you’re overwhelmed by the sweet smell of the aging Bourbon. In a good way.

Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels

bottling bourbon at Woodford Reserve distillery

And after checking out the bottling process, we got to sample some Woodford and have a Bourbon Ball. Thanks Woodford!

free chocolate bourbon ball and shot of Woodford Reserve bourbon

Featured, Out & About

Dollymoon: Dollywood & Beyond

Buckhorn Inn in Gatlinburg, TN

Are you ready for our next Dollymoon recap? You look ready! After a couple days in Nashville, it was time to change it up. We headed to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for beautiful mountains, touristy kitsch, and Dollywood! We were staying just outside of Gatlinburg at the Buckhorn Inn.

a Buckhorn Inn cabin in Gatlinburg, TN

We had our own little house with two bedrooms, a jacuzzi, and a deck that overlooked the wooded nature trails on the property.

Buckhorn Inn cabin living room in Gatlinburg, TN

Buckhorn Inn cabin bedrooms in Gatlinburg, TN

the Smoky Mountains cabin view at Gatlinburg's Buckhorn Inn

But we didn’t leave Nashville to soak up some nature, though. We left for Dollywood.

welcome to Dollywood!

funnel cake and owls at Dollywood

Dollywood might have started off as a Silver Dolly City, and it certainly still has the “Craftsman’s Valley” area, but now it has some pretty wild roller coasters including the new Wild Eagle.

Dollywood's Wild Eagle wing roller coaster

wooden roller coaster and pond fountain at Dollywood

Sadly, we missed seeing Dolly (she had visited the weekend before), but we did get to see inside her tour bus (pink and flowers and butterflies everywhere!) and go shopping in “Dolly’s Closet”. Needless to say, Sarah walked away with a pretty snazzy souvenir T-shirt…

Dolly Parton's tour bus and a hot pink souvenir tank top from Dollywood

After long Dollywood days, nothing beats relaxing in a cabin with some sparking wine.

champagne and cowgirl boots in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee

Well, nothing beats that except breakfast at Buckhorn Inn. Eggs benedict and cheesy grits!

country benedict breakfast at Tennessee's Buckhorn Inn

And the beautiful views from the main Inn. Those are the great Smoky Mountains, folks.

The Smoky Mountains view from the Buckhorn Inn

porch and walking trail at the Buckhorn Inn in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

We took a relaxing walk through their nature trail. They even have a labyrinth! Not as thrilling as Dollywood, but still kinda cool.

stone labyrinth at the Tennessee's Buckhorn Inn

Smoky Mountain trees

On our last day we decided to explore Gatlinburg, which is the gateway to the Smoky Mountain National Park. It’s a crazy kitschy tourist town…with a kind of alpine theme.

sky lift in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

If you ever go, make sure you take the skylift. It’s a little scary if you don’t like heights, but the views are worth it.

sky line view of Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Crockett Mountain

sunset on the Crockett Mountain in the Smokies

After some nature views, we walked over to the Ole Smoky Moonshine distillery right in downtown and enjoyed some bluegrass music.

Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler

Tennessee bluegrass band at the Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler

…and a moonshine tasting. Many of their flavored moonshines are only available in Gatlinburg, so it was pretty cool to be able to try grape, blackberry, lemon drop, pink lemonade, fruit punch, strawberry, and peach moonshine. If you ever come across a jar of their grape or blackberry flavored moonshine, buy one. At least one.

Ole Smoky Moonshine tasting

We were really sad to be leaving the awesome Buckhorn breakfasts, but we had to hit the road for Lousiville! Check back next week for our last recaps of our Dollymoon adventure.

apricot pancakes and bacon at Tennessee's Buckhorn Inn

Out & About

Dollymoon: Hatch Show Print

Hatch Show Prints

We left one thing out of our Nashville recap — a trip to a little shop that deserves its own blog post. After seeing the awesome Hatch Show Print wall at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, we had to check out the rest of their retro music posters! The prints on display (and available for purchase) in the Broadway location, as well as the vintage equipment and blocks in their old school workshop, did not disappoint.

Hatch Show Print Shop

Hatch Show Print Shop

Hatch Show Print Shop

Founded in 1879 by the Hatch brothers (C.R. and H.H.), Hatch Show Print is one of the oldest print shops in the U.S. Now owned and operated by the Country Music Foundation (the non-profit owner fo the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum) Hatch is still inking new posters as well as restriking past favorites.

vintage photos and letterpress at the Hatch Show Print Shop

Nashville's Hatch Show Print Shop

We couldn’t leave without picking up a few posters ourselves. The one of the couple on the roller coaster seemed appropriate given our plans to visit Dollywood the next day, and the coffee one was just plain purdy. But now, Brian kinda regrets not getting that blue and orange Bill Monroe poster. Good thing they sell them online!

vintage prints from the Hatch Show Print Shop

Featured, Out & About

Dollymoon: Nashville

Welcome to Nashville road sign

We just made it back from our Dollymoon (Dollywood + Honeymoon), and it was probably the best honeymoon that anyone has ever taken. Ever. Oh, you think yours was the best? Let’s just agree that you’re probably wrong and move on with our recap. We’ve got lots to share with you — so much, in fact, that we’re going to break it up into a few different posts. There was just too much fun for one post! Today we’ll take you through the first two days of our trip in Nashville.

back of the Union Station hotel in Nashville

We stayed at the Union Station Hotel in downtown Nashville, which was built in 1900 as Nashville’s main train station. It was turned into a hotel after all train service had stopped in the 1980s.

lobby of the Union Station hotel in Nashville, Tennessee

The exterior of the station and the lobby area were clearly pretty fancy. You can certainly tell what an opulent place this would have been in it’s heyday. Although, the station used to have two alligator pits, and we can’t decide if that’s opulence or a sign of a security problem.

retro carpet in the Union Station hotel in Nashville, TN

vintage staircase in the Union Station hotel in Nashville, TN

Brian West and Sarah Ervin

We were so happy to be starting our long awaited Dollymoon that we had to capture our excitement with a quick photo right there in that vintage, yellow stairway.

Union Station hotel bed and salmon dinner at the Germantown Cafe in Nashville, TN

Pretty snazzy room, no? After a food detour to the Germantown Cafe just north of the Capitol Building, we headed to Lower Broadway, the touristy strip with bright lights, live music, and Nashville’s famed honky-tonks.

neon cowboy bars in Nashville, TN

neon cowboy bar signs in Nashville, TN

To be perfectly honest, we expected to be underwhelmed by this part of town. While the area does have its fair share of duds (I’m looking at you, Margaritaville), we had a really fantastic time.

honky tonk bar band at Robert's Western World in Nashville, TN

We stopped into Robert’s Western World and grabbed a table in the back to watch a few excellent bands. We also ran into Pokey Lafarge and the South City Three at the bar who just happened to be in town recording for their next album.

breakfast in bed at Nashville's Union Station hotel

The next morning, we decided we’d better continue the high life and get room service.

Purity milk carton

Then it was on to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. There was so much to see there, but we especially liked the display of Hatch Show prints that they had along the third floor wall. It was so inspiring to be so close to instruments and lyric sheets and clothing belonging to all of county music’s legends. Afterward, Sarah decided that she wanted to pick up yodeling…

Hackberry Ramblers and Hatch Show Print Wall at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

wall of gold records at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

gold records and Elvis Presley at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

The endless walls of gold records and the majestic (yes, we said it — majestic) Hall of Fame were also amazing to see.

Country Music Hall of Fame circle in Nashville, Tennessee

We made sure to say hello to Elivs (above), our beloved Dolly, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and a few others, and we snapped another honeymoon portrait (albeit, a strange one) in a reflection of copper in the museum. We like to keep things a little weird around here…

Brian West and Sarah Ervin copper reflection

After the Hall of Fame, we walked back through Lower Broadway and found a more subdued scene than the night before.

Park Paradise neon sign in Nashville, TN

Robert's Western World and country bars in Nashville, TN

Arnold's country cooking in Nashville, TN

Then it was time for some grub! After grabbing the car, we were off to Arnold’s, which might just be the food highlight of the entire trip! It’s a cafeteria-style place that serves up some classic southern dishes and even throws in a few twists along the way. Spicy chocolate chess pie…yes, please.

country food at Arnold's in Nashville, TN

After scarfing down far too much food, we headed out to do a little shopping. Our first stop was Savant Vintage, which was packed with cool, but pricey, wares.

Savant Vintage in Nashville, TN

vintage Elvis painting, cowboy hats, and boots at Savant Vintage in Nashville, TN

Next up was some ranch dressing at Katy K Designs. Sarah splurged on a snazzy pair of white cowgirl boots, and I’m sure she’ll be sharing some photos of those in the near future.

Katy K Designs in Nashville, TN

Sadly, between a fantastic midday meal and a show to see that night, that’s about all the shopping we had time for in Nashville. I guess that means we’ll have to go back…

Jack White show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN

We were a little tired by that point, but it was amazing to see the Alabama Shakes and Jack White at the Ryman. Obviously a great venue, and both bands didn’t disappoint.

Jack White and band at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN

After the show, we decided to stop back into Robert’s to grab some fried pickles that we just didn’t have room for the night before.

retro rockabilly band at Robert's Western World in Nashville, TN

A fun fifties rock band was playing, which made for a great post-show show. Plus, Brittany Howard from the Alabama Shakes was just hanging out and was kind enough to let Sarah take a picture with her!

Sarah Ervin with Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes in Nashville, TN

Then we rushed off to bed in anticipation of the next leg of our Dolly-tastic journey: Dollywood! We’ll give you the scoop on that fine time, as well as on some surprisingly fun times in Gatlinburg, Tennensse, tomorrow.

Featured, Out & About

Out & About: The Field Museum, Behind The Scenes

botany displays at the Field Museum

Thanks to my father-in-law Tim, I had the rare opportunity to visit the Field Museum with his graduate accounting class for a behind-the-scenes tour and panel discussion with executive staff members. This was incredibly cool, people. Though the trip was presented in the context of accounting for large non-profit organizations, and I walked away with some killer insight and information from that perspective, I was also inspired by the magnitude of knowledge, innovation, and history housed in this major museum. I’ll share the funnest factoids with you!

botanist at the Field Museum

After learning that the Field employs 90 PhD’s, our first stop on the tour was upstairs in the Department of Botany. The Chair, Dr. William C. Burger, spoke to us about his work researching the flora of Costa Rica, as well as the vast, encyclopedic inventory of the Field’s 24 million specimens. 24 MILLION specimens, people! Many of these are used in the study of Economic Botany, which explores “the interface between people and plants to describe the cultural uses of plants, explain the origin of specific useful plants, and develop strategies for the sustainable use of plant resources”.

Herbarium display at the Smithsonian Institute

{ Herbarium display }

poster of ethnic textile at the Field Museum

We wandered a few dark, winding hallways, filled with posters from the Field’s previous exhibitions, including ethnic textiles and giant maps from the World’s Fair in 1883.

the Field Museum's artist-in-residence studio office

We even walked past the Field’s resident artist, Peggy Macnamara, at work in her studio!

swan painting by Peggy Macnamara

{ “104 Swan” from Peggy Macnamara‘s Birds collection }

wall of bird feathers at the Field Museum

Next we found ourselves in the Birds division of the Department of Zoology, where the Chair, Dr. John Bates, showed us a colorful collection of stuffed bird skins. His research focuses on the genetic structure of tropical birds, and we got to see large birds of paradise (“the females prefer birds with longer tails”) and tiny warblers.blue bird of paradise

{ Blue Bird of Paradise }

black throated blue warbler

{ Black Throated Blue Warbler by Lloyd Spitalnik }

Fun fact about color pigments in birds: reds and pinks in bird feathers come from their diet (e.g. crustaceans), while blues and greens are structural pigments, which appear to change color a bit from different angles.

financial panel at the Field Museum

The day finally ended with the panel, featuring the Field’s Executive Vice President, the Director of Budgets and Treasury Services, and the Shedd Aquarium’s CFO, among others. After filling my brain to the brim with information on accountability, ethics, and leadership in non-profits, we headed to Geno’s to fill my tummy with deep dish pizza. What a treat!

Out & About

Out & About: Shop Columbia

Hi. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Sarah, and I really like things that are handmade. I like to make things and buy handmade things from others. I also go to grad school at Columbia College Chicago, a big ol’ “arts & media” school with some 12,000 undergraduate students. Creative types. Lots of creative types. Knowing these things about me, you probably shouldn’t be surprised to hear that one of my favorite places in Chicago is a place called ShopColumbia, where Columbia students–those 12,000 creative types I was telling you about–sell their art and handicraft. It is a wonderland.

Getting back into the swing of school, with all the mental stimulation and social hullabaloo, has really inspired me to get crafting again. And to sell that craft at Shop Columbia!

I mean, if I’m investing so much of my time and finances into this whole master’s degree thing, so I can eventually manage arts and crafts businesses or organizations, I might as well practice my own craft, right? I’m thinking about pulling my crochet hooks and yarn out of their summer hibernation spots and whipping up some warm & cozy cowls and headbands.

I want to continue learning, too. Maybe I’ll try my  hand at mittens or leg warmers! Or at least more elaborate patterns for my cowls…

So stay tuned, folks! By posting my crafting progress, I’ll use the Westervin blog and it’s fine readers to keep myself motivated and accountable.

But before you go, say hello to my classmates and excited new friends, Carolyn and Ali. Are they excited because of Shop Columbia and all the wonders and possibilities it holds? Are they excited to be my new friends? I’d like to think both are true…

Out & About

Out & About: St. Louis, Revisited

Last weekend we stopped in St. Louis for a few days on our way to and from our wedding shower in Columbia, Missouri. St. Louis is pretty great for a number of reasons, but one of them is that my sister lives there, and she always has some good ideas for things to do. I’d say one of my least favorite things about visiting a city is trying to figure out what to do….turns out I’m a pretty anxious person. In any event, St. Louis is always friendly, welcoming, and fun.

First up we went to the Stable in Benton Park, which is, well, a former stable attached to the former Lemp Brewery complex (by the way, if you’re looking to buy a really old brewery, we found one). The food was a bit hit and miss, but they had a great beer selection and great prices, at least compared to Chicago. Sarah loved her black currant hard cider, and marveled at the majestic chandelier of her dreams.

Next day we were walking around my sister’s neighborhood of Carondelet, which has the oldest bakery in St. Louis (sadly it’s closed on Sundays).

But we did stop in at Broadway Bean Coffee for some espresso and an iced chai latte, and checked out some art from Vesna Delevska.

They have a whole gallery attached to the coffee shop. It’s really a pretty nice setup.

We’re were pretty sad we’d miss an Elvis impersonator at the Ivory Theater (in a converted church), but maybe next time.

Finally, we grabbed some brunch at Square One Brewery in Lafayette Square, before hitting the road to Chicago.

And what trip would be complete without a little thrifting at the Pink Elephant in Livingston Illinois.

Out & About

Out & About: Food Truckin!

So food trucks are pretty big now, but besides ice cream trucks and shaved ice, I don’t think Sarah or I have ever actually utilized one. Luckily for us, we spotted the Sweet Ride Chi truck on our way home yesterday and picked up a tasty red velvet whoopie pie. So thanks to Sweet Ride Chi and Food Trucks for making our day!

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