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!

Blog News, Westervin Shop

Summer 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

the new Arkansas home of Sarah West Ervin and Brian West

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

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

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

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

Sarah West Ervin's new haircut and birthday fun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Westervin Handmade Shop Update

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

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

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