Blog News

2012: The Highlights

Yesterday was Brian’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Brian! As a result, I reflected, as one so often does on such occasions, on how quickly the past year seemed to fly by. He’s 27 years old? Already? Didn’t he just turn 26…? I guess the year flew by because it really was chock full of fun and fantastic-ness. We just hopped from one milestone to the next.

Brian turned 26

Please join me, if you will, on a look back at the past year with the Westervins, starting with Brian’s 26th birthday on January 31st, 2012. That joyous celebration saw a cookie cake—Brian’s favorite kind of cake, obviously—as well as a few choice presents and a relaxing break with the Wests outside of the city. We were all so happy that this sweet man was born just 26 years prior.

Grace Steinel Jones started guest blogging

Soon after, we welcomed one of our dearest and most talented besties, one Mrs. Grace Steinel Jones, as a guest blogger for Westervin. Cooking away in her hot Austin kitchen, Grace whipped up such delicioso creations as the above carrot cake with honey-ginger figs, homemade granola, and some super tacos!

Sarah West Ervin started working with Lillstreet

Later in February, I started working with the Lillstreet Art Center. For class credit, I offered my newly acquired marketing skills to Lillstreet to help spread the word about their many amazing services and products for the creatively inclined and curious. In exchange, I got some professional experience, an invitation to a screenprinting workshop, and an opportunity to work with them again on another fun marketing project.

Westervin got a makeover

In March, Brian exercised his creative muscles and unveiled a new look for Westervin.com. He’s so talented. Note to self: keep him around.

Newby Treasury GIveaway

We celebrated the redesign with a very special giveaway from Newby Treasury. This giveaway had been in the works for a few months, since around the first time I met Sarah Newby. I latched on to that cool lady like white on rice, determined to make her my friend. BTW, it worked.

Brian West got a new Job

In April, Brian started working at Columbia College Chicago…one floor above my office! Now, we get to go to work together and get coffee together and eat lunch together and go on walks together and go home together and BEST FRIENDS FOREVER!!!!!!!

Debbie Carlos starts guest blogging

In other tremendously exciting April news, Debbie Carlos started guest blogging for Westervin with her series A Sunday Ritual. I don’t think I need to say much about this, other than: apricot pie, coconut corn fritters, ratatouille, sesame pea-shoot salad, cochinita pibil, and savory bread pudding, and 60-second gooey chocolate mug cake. Oh, and I should probably also say, “OMG! Thank you so much, Debbie! You are sooooooo awesome!!!!”

Celebrated World Party Day

Also that month, we were invited by BIG THINGS, Kitiya Palaskas, and The Adventure School to participate in the fun DIY-ness of World Party Day. We made some margarita jello shots for the festivities. I think they were appreciated…

Columbia College Chicago Manifest: Please Generate Art

As I wrapped up my first year of graduate school last May, we rounded out the semester with our interactive art installation, Sound Collective, which was part of PGA: Please Generate Art, the graduate Manifest project at Columbia. It was a disgusting amount of work coupled with some poor timing (damn you, finals!), but I think it was all worth it for the delirious giggles and slaphappy bonding among the Sound Collective team: Caitlin O’Meara, Laura Bock, me, and (unofficially) Brian.

Westervin Honeymoon

Brian and I soon recuperated on our Dollymoon. That is, we took our belated honeymoon at Dollywood! Best. Trip. Ever.

Sarah West Ervin made some videos for Lillstreet Art Center

When we returned, I began working with Lillstreet again on the Make It video series. I’m a producer, y’all! I’ve shared a few of the completed videos, and there’s a few more still to come…

Westervin gets juiced

In June, Brian and I started juicing! The good kind, guys. In an attempt to circumvent my general disinterest in most foods of the vegetable variety, Brian got us a juicer and started sneaking nutrient-rich vegetables into my diet, disguised by the sweet nectar of fruit juices. Let’s face it: everyone knows that vegetables are gross. Also fact: fruit is nature’s candy. So, if you mix fresh fruit juice with a little vegetable juice, like carrot, celery, spinach, etc., you can barely taste it! Since our juicing ways began, I’ve increased my vegetable tolerance and we’ve been drinking several servings of fresh juice every day. As a result, we generally have more energy, my hair and skin feel healthier, and I barely drink soda anymore. I’m serious. The power of juice has broken the hold that sweet, sweet soda had over me. Get juiced!

Sarah West Ervin learns to screenprint at Lillstreet Art Center

In other self-improvement news, I built up my crafting repertoire by learning how to screenprint! Laura Bock and I went to a screenprinting party at Lillstreet, wherein we sipped wine, ate fancy snacks, and got our crafty on with the help of instructor and textile artist Nora Renick-Rinehart. If only every month could include such craft parties…

Westervin was Published in Design: Paper

Perhaps the most exciting development in June, however, was being published! Our handmade save-the-dates were featured in the beautiful book Design: Paper. We loved making those little postcards, so we were overjoyed to see them in a book!

Sarah West Ervin blows up on Pinterest

In July, I got a lot of Pinterest followers, and we’ve had a lot of fun together since then…

Sarah West Ervin turns 26

And, in August, I finally caught up to Brian and turned 26 myself. I doubled the fun by joining forces with our local bestie Laura, who turned 24 a few days after my birthday. The fantastic festivities included a potluck brunch party and a trip to Six Flags. Brian also fulfilled one of my lifelong wishes by getting me an edible arrangement, delivered to me at work. All together, it was a dream of a birthday.

First Anniversary

That milestone was followed by an even better one in September: our first wedding anniversary. We celebrated with a delicious dinner, a nice walk, and a new set of handmade wedding rings! I gotta say, this marriage stuff is great.

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago

Later than month, we hit up the Renegade Craft Fair. As the highlight of my craftventures for the year, much fun and shopping was had by all in our party, both new friends and old.

Sarah West Ervin went back to school

And, to balance out the fun of September, my second year of graduate school began. Fitzgerald and I felt the same way about it: Meh.

Brian West is Famous

But soon, things were looking up again! In October, Brian was commissioned to create the signature cocktail for Poetry‘s centennial celebration. He expertly crafted the bubbly and well-balanced Hippocrene, inspired by a Keats poem. It was written about in the New York Times, guys. Note to self: seriously, keep this fella around.

Sarah West Ervin is Famous

Soon after, I saw my five minutes of fame as a guest pinner for Etsy, my other love.  Ok, famous is a strong word here…  but I’ll use it just the same! LOOK AT ME! I’M AN INTERNET CELEBRITY! Would you like my autograph?

Sarah West Ervin went crochet crazy

In November, to combat the stress of sudden stardom (but mostly that of homework and impending finals), I got into crocheting. REALLY into crocheting. I went a little crazy with hats there….

Going to Louisiana

For Thanksgiving, Brian and I took a roadtrip to Louisiana to visit my family. Highlights included: gramma’s twice-baked potatoes, playing with my little brother, cracking pecans, and stopping in Little Rock along the way for a quick catch-up with my forever-valentine, Megan.

Westervin turned 3

And then it snuck up on us—-Westervin turned three. We’re pretty proud.

Goodbye to Sarah Newby and Ryan Glenn

Then, in December, we were forced to say a tearful goodbye to our sweet, interesting friends, Ryan Glenn and Sarah Newby. We shared a brunch with these two, gave them a little going away gift, and shooed them on their way to L.A. Expect a visit this summer, guys. Sunshine, here we come!

We got a new kitchen

When we were away for Christmas break, our landlord updated our kitchen. I really feel like the beauty of our new wood floors and clean, white cabinets has changed my life. I actually enjoy being in the kitchen now! And, I’ve even been helping Brian out a little in there with this thing they call “cooking.” It’s not as terrible as it seems! We’ll share some photos soon—-of both the renovation and my delectable (not really) creations.

Rang in the New Year

And finally, Brian and I rang in 2013 with our sassy frands, Laura Bock and Jonathan Thomason. Never underestimate the enjoyableness of pie, boardgames, and an all-night slumber party.

If you twisted my arm, I’d have to say that the last year was a pretty good one. Here’s to the next!

Do It Yo'self

Make It: Hand Dyed Silk Scarf

 

It’s here! Above is the first DIY video in the Make It series that I helped produce with the Lillstreet Art Center! If you’re interested in learning how to professionally hand-dye a silk scarf with an even and intense dye color, watch this short video. And, below is the companion video, which shows you how to mix the dye concentrate for your hand-dying projects.

 

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Do It Yo'self

Behind the Scenes: DIY Screenprinting Video

fiber artist Nora Renick Rinehart demonstrating how to screenprint a onesie

As you may know (from this post), I’m producing a series of DIY videos with Lillstreet Art Center. We’ve now shot 4 of the 5 planned, and it’s been a blast! For someone with no prior filmmaking experience, the project has been incredibly challenging as I try to effectively navigate the roles of efficient task-master and supportive, creative professional. Needless to say, it’s been an invaluable learning experience and an incredibly rewarding project.

silk screens for screenprinting

I love feeling connected to a creative community, like that of Lillstreet, and it’s been great to be instrumental in shaping a creative video product, to connect art & craft teachers with a wider online audience, and to learn a little about various crafts in the process.

the darkroom at Lillstreet

We really can’t wait to release these video tutorials, but for now, we’ll all have to make do with these photos I snapped during the filming of our third video, “How to Screenprint a Onesie”, which was taught by fiber artist and sewing instructor Nora Renick Rinehart.

how to screenprint a onesie (video coming soon)

Do It Yo'self

Behind the scenes of Lillstreet’s DIY video series

Lillstreet jewelry making studio

I mentioned that I’m producing a series of DYI videos for Lillstreet, which is, quite possibly, the coolest project I’ve gotten my crafty little hands on to date. And it’s been so much fun! We hope to release the videos next month, but I wanted to give you a sneak peek of our first shoot.

We just shot our second video last night with fiber artist Camille Canales. She showed us the professional technique of immersion dyeing for creating a hand dyed silk scarf. I didn’t get any shots of that fun project (you’ll just have to trust me that it was awesome), but I did manage to take a few from our first video (seen here).

For the first video, Katie Mills of Lady Faye Jewelry (I’m buying this ring, BTDubs) taught us how to make simple brass bracelets, which could be customized with one’s initials using a letter stamp.

See those pretty brass bands above!

Joe Tighe and Katie Mills of Lillstreet's DIY Video Series

Photographer & videographer, Joe Tighe of A Couple of Dudes, was our skilled director & cameraman. He’s also finishing up the editing now, and I can’t wait to see the finished product. I’ll be sure to share it with you, of course, next month!

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…)!

Blog News, Featured

Lillstreet: A Love Story

Dearest Lillstreet, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1. You are one rad art center with so many classes and workshops I want to take!

Lillstreet Art Center

I love that you offer classes in so many fun art and craft media, like ceramics, jewelry making, textiles, photography, drawing, painting, and more! You make the arts fun and accessible.

2. You’ve got some cool & talented folks under your roof.

Opening Reception at the Lillstreet Gallery

I loved working with Jess, your Galley Director, and Julia, your Marketing & Communications Director, this past spring on a marketing case study for class. I got credit for learning about you and applying some of my newly acquired  marketing lingo! Every time I walk through your doors, I feel inspired by the great art on display and the creative people who fill  your halls.

3. You invited me to one of your new art parties!

Screenprinting party at Lillstreet

You mean I get to screenprint a tote bag, drink wine, eat cupcakes, and converse with other crafters? You’re really making it impossible not to love you.

4. You’re letting me work with you again this summer on a series of DIY videos.

Handbuilt clay mug at Lillstreet

The fun really never stops. I’m so happy that you liked my idea to create video tutorials that bring the art and craft  education you offer to a broader online audience. You liked it enough to run with it and to let me coordinate the project!  Though we’ve only just begun, I’ve already met some ridiculously talented craftspeople (like cutie pie Katie Mills of Lady Faye Jewelry), have learned a lot about working with those creatives, have pushed myself and my communication skills, and have felt more connected again to the craft community, which I so dearly love. I can’t wait to share the finished videos — featuring projects for jewelry making screenprinting, photography tips, and more — with my readers and so many more DIY hungry people!

Week Links

Week Links: April 6, 2012

1. This little horse jar from A Beautiful Party is perfect for collecting tiny treasures. If there’s two things I love, it’s tiny things and treasures!

2. Ok, so it turns out there are many, many things I love, including yogurt fruit snacks. I would still file these under “tiny treasures” though…

3. Our treasure of a friend (see what I’m doing here?) Hollie Martin collaborated with Cake Wines to design a beautiful label for their Pinot Grigio. Congrats, Hollie! Now gimme some wine! (White wines. Also on my list of loves.)

4. It’s been a while since we checked in with our other down-under artist friend Erin Flannery, but her work never disappoints.

5. Attention Chicago-area crafters! The Chicago Craft Mafia is hosting another Craft Racket. Head to Beans & Bagles on Tuesday, April 10th for tips on getting your crafts into shops. Knowledge — now that’s a true treasure. (Does it feel like I’m stretching a bit?) These earrings pictured are from Chicago Craft Mafia member Moira K. Lime.

6. Artist Vanessa Ramos has put together a fun tutorial for making your own zipper pouch. Perfect for collecting more tiny treasures! (Okay, I’m done.)

Blog News, Featured

Wanted: DIY Guest Blogger

Are you one crafty motha trucka? Are you in need of an outlet for all your DIY ideas? Are you looking for a little extra exposure for your blog or handmade wares? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then we should be friends.

crafty lady with scissor tattoo

{ PHOTO CREDIT: Icon Tattoo Studio }

We’re looking for a new guest blogger to bring some fresh DIY content to Westervin. We want original ideas, easy to follow instructions, and high quality photos. If you’d like to contribute one or a short series of crafty tutorials to our DIY-loving readers, please email me at sarah@westervin.com!

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Blog News, Featured

World Party Day

Guess what? It’s pretty much Spring, which means PARTY! If you are anything like us, you’ve been waiting to come out of hibernation and get back to work, and what better way to do that than with World Party Day?

World Party Day is April 3, 2012

BIG THINGS, Kitiya Palaskas, and The Adventure School have teamed up for World Party Day on April 3. “Wait, what’s World Party Day. I like parties and all, but what is this thing?” Let us explain. World Party Day is a synchronized day for world-wide partying. That is, we are giving you an excuse to party for one whole day. There are lots of things going on for this celebration, and we’ll even be providing a very special cocktail recipe. I suggest checking out BIG THINGS for all the details, but here are a few of the ways to get excited and involved.

There are so many ways you can participate in WORLD PARTY DAY:
Visual party stimulation Tumblr
Tweet or Instagram your party and plans using #worldpartyday
Celebrate with with one of the ‘official’ parties if you are lucky enough to be in San Francisco or Sydney
Join our 24-hour virtual Google+ Hangout party!

You can even sign up for a free WPD button! If you don’t love free buttons, you might wanna take a long, hard look at your life…

Week Links

Week Links: March 9, 2012

Week Links: March 9, 2012