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


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?


{ 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?


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!


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.


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.


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:


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!

Shopping Sherpa

Top 10 Christmas Tree Ornaments

Westervin's Top 10 Christmas Ornaments - fun, handmade, and non-traditional, of course

What’s the best thing to give anyone and everyone on your list this year? (Assuming, of course, that your Christmas list doesn’t include any of those holiday-hating heathen folk who don’t bother putting up a tree.) Answer: ornaments!  They’re small and cute and come in every animal-shape and eye-blinding-color. So, to help you out, Brian and I have rounded up the indisputable top 10 Christmas tree ornaments for holiday gift giving and decorating this year. These are the best of the best, including mostly handmade and truly unique branch baubles with just the right amount of irreverence.

10. Stuffed Shark

Handmade Stuffed Shark Christmas Tree Ornament

Image above: Stuffed Shark Ornament handmade by Broderpress $16.00/ea. 

Ah, the fierce and majestic shark. This plush ornament is not for the faint of heart or the bland of tree.

9. Popsicles

Popsicle Ornaments

Image above: Clay Popsicle Ornaments handmade by Sugar + Frost $8.05/ea.

What’s more wonderful than a popsicle, I ask you? Well, two popsicles. Also, three popsicles, And four. Should I keep going…?

8. Palmistry

Palmistry Wooden Hand Ornament

Image above: Good Fortune Palmistry Hand Wood Ornament made in the USA $10.00/ea. 

Whether you’re gifted with a connection to the spiritual world or are just really into this “hand” trend I’m seeing everywhere, you’ll love this laser-engraved birch wood ornament.

7. Monster Friend

Handmade Clay Monster Friend Ornament

Image above: Ceramic Monster Ornament handmade by DragonStarArt $40.00 (only one available!)

Just look at that sweet squiggly smile! This odd fella would add some real interest to any quirky tree.

6. Mini Weavings

Woven Loom Ornaments

Image above: Woven Loom Ornaments handmade by All Roads Design $14.00/ea.

Anthropologie has ALL THE PRETTY THINGS! Case-in-point, these little loom weavings. They’re so tiny! Gimme.

5. Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs Ornament

Image above: Deviled Eggs Glass Ornament handmade in Poland $13.96/ea.

Did you know that the deviled egg dates as far back as ancient Rome? That means this platter of deviled eggs is probably the classiest ornament you could have.

Don’t question it.

4. Christmas Pickles


Image above: Jar of Pickles Ornament Set hand-blown in Poland $8.00 for 9

If you don’t partake in the Christmas pickle tradition every year, stop reading this blog post and don’t come back until you’ve bought a pickle ornament and committed yourself to this beautiful custom. I’m making it a requirement of all Westervin readers. Seriously, get out of here.

3. Banana Bunch

Bunch of Bananas Ornament

Image above: Banana Bunch Wood Ornament handmade by Alice Oehr & Rittle $13.00

Brian doesn’t actually enjoy eating bananas, and I just can’t understand that. They’re sweet, have a bright, happy color, and are fun to mush around in your mouth as if you’re a baby monkey learning to eat. And they have an interesting history. Bananas are wonderful, I say, and perfect for any Christmas tree!

2. Fancy Flamingo

Flamingo in a Top Hat Ornament

Image above: Fancy Flamingo Paper Mache Ornament $19.95

This guy is too fabulous for any old tree, and he knows it. Just look at that cheeky side-eye.

1. Cheerful Cactus

Handmade Plaid Wool & Velvet Cactus Ornament

Image above: Plaid & Velvet Cactus Ornament handmade by Dotter Studio $18.00

And finally, topping the list is this one-of-a-kind cactus ornament made with salvaged vintage velvet and plaid wool. Because nothing says, “white Christmas is so last year,” like a desert dwelling succulent.

Shopping Sherpa

Top 10 Christmas Cards

Westervin's Top 10 Christmas Cards

As the countdown to the holidays continues (11 days to go, woo!), Brian and I thought we’d whip up a Christmas countdown of our own. This season, we scoured the internets for the absolutely best, most whimsical, smile-inducing cards that you can give to your loved ones, colleagues, mailmen, and even strangers. And strangers’ kids. From one to ninety-two. Or whatever… Featuring cats, eye patches, beautiful typography, and non-traditional color palettes, this list includes our favorite Christmas cards this year, handmade by independent designers and makers and/or printed in the USA on sustainable materials.

10. Skiing Santa

Skiing Santa Christmas Card

Image above: Skiing Santa Christmas Card handmade by Lucy Letherland £1.75 

I guess Santa’s gotta have something to do in his downtime.

9. Festive Tumbleweed

Festive Tumbleweed Card

Image above: Festive Tumbleweed Christmas Card Set handmade by Small Adventure $18.00 for 8

Did you pull out your holiday decorations this year only to find your strings of lights tangled in an ungodly mess? Screw it! Embrace the chaos by tossing them in the nearest tumbleweed. Christmas saved!

8. Merrily

Merrily Christmas Card

Image above: Merrily Holiday Cards handmade by Maddy Nye of Yours Madly $4.00/ea. or $16.00 for 6

Show your minimalist-leaning friends that you care with this simple yet happy typography based card.

7. Say It With Flowers!

Cactus Tree Christmas Card

Image above: Say It With Flowers! Christmas Cactus Card handmade by Daniela Spoto $12.00 for 3, $15.00 for 5, or $20.00 for 10

Cacti are SO on trend this year.

 6. Nutcracker


Nutcracker Christmas Card Set

Image above: Nutcracker Christmas Card Set made in the USA by Rifle Paper Co.  $16.00 for 8

Fun fact: Brian used to collect nutcrackers for Christmas when he was little. Aaaawww! Now our home is filled to ceilings with festive little nutcracker men, big and small, on mantels and bookshelves, peering out at me, following me with their beady wooden eyes wherever I go. Why, Brian, why??????

5. ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

Twas the Night Before Christmas Card

Image above: ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas Card Set handmade by Gemma Correll $12.00 for 3, $15.00 for 5, or $20 for 10

No Westervin Christmas card list is complete without the silliness of illustrator Gemma Correll. She is magic.

4. Mistletoe Magic

Mistletoe Magic Christmas Card

Image above: Mistletoe Magic Holiday Card handmade by Laura Berger $4.50/ea.

Although no proud cat parent needs an excuse to smooch their kitty babies, mistletoe might make it a little less awkward when you have guests. Right?

3. Bah Humcat

Bah Humbug Cat Christmas Card

Image above: Bah Humbug Catsmas Card handmade by Nicola Rowlands £2.20

But maybe your cat doesn’t care for your smooches. Well, bah humbug to you too, cat!

2. Snappy New Year

Snappy New Year Christmas Card

Image above: Snappy New Year Crocodile Christmas Card Set printed in the USA on recycled content paper $18.95 for 6

For the badass with a heart of gold.

1. Santa Claws

Santa Claws Christmas Card

Image above: Santa Claws Christmas Card Set handmade by Wit & Whistle $16.50 for 6

Because puns.

Westervin Wishlist

30 Gift Ideas for the Classy, Barbecuing Boozehound (or things you can get Brian for Christmas)

Westervin Wishlist: 30 Gift Ideas for the Classy Guy

While for the Westervins, Christmastime is mostly about taking some time off to spend with family and watching our favorite Christmas movies (or at least my favorite Christmas movie), we somehow also find time for presents. So just like Sarah did yesterday, I’ve rounded up some nifty items and wrapped them up in a handy gift guide for you. Don’t feel the need to get me everything on this list — I don’t need #allthepresents. But some of this stuff is really cool, and you may know someone who still needs a gift. Heck, maybe you need a gift. Fair warning though, many of these items are limited in quantity or handmade, so get them while they’re hot!

Image above, clockwise from top left: Tyvek Billfold $24,  Snuggle Penguin Card $4.50, Y’all Sweatshirt $50, THICK Paraben- and Sulfate-Free Shampoo $25, Anonymous Ism Socks $28, Coconut Oil Soft Shaving Cream £16.00, Fireplace Sculpture by Layet Johnson $1,800, Natural Avocado Soap $6.50, Wood Handle Umbrella $108, Beard Oil Trio $36

Westervin Wishlist: 30 Gift Ideas for the Classy Boozehound

Image above, clockwise from top left: Skillshare Premium Membership $96 (so I can take this logo design class and more), Set of Moscow Mule Mugs $14.95/ea., 12 Tables 2015 Calendar $20, Americana Postcard Set $30 for 46, Set of Julep Cups $26.95/ea., North Carolina Sourwood Honey $22, Dinosaur Drink Stirrers $16.95, Chicken Gourd Ornaments Set $36 for 3, Mint Julep Candle $28, Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold

Westervin Wishlist: 30 Gift Ideas for the Classy Barbecuer

Image above, clockwise from top left: Copper Pig Cookie Cutter $16.95, Chorizo Rioja Dry Cured Salami $10.95, Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey by John Currence, Stand Mixer Flex Edge Beater $22.49, Slap Sauce $6.99, Smoke by Tim Byers, Ginger Canvas Apron $80, Custom Coffee Subscription, Deep Tea Diver Infuser $9.99, Diner Cookie Jar $49.00