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It’s no circus act but Deva Mirel is a master of balancing plates. The north Florida transplant runs Fresh Pastry Stand — a cake stand business, blogs, currently has a Kickstarter for her line of beeswax candles, all on top of being a mother of three. If you’re not impressed yet, wait until you see her massive collection of serving ware. Deva’s vintage collecting has caught our attention which is why we’re putting the spotlight on her. Find out how with this balancing act, Deva handles it all and how you can get your hands on her handmade goods.
Hi Deva! Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a 37 year old mom of three kids. I’m not a huge fan of ice cream. I love color. Wish I slept more.
Where are you from and where do you currently live?
I am from Sayreville, New Jersey and have a ridiculous amount of Sayreville pride! Growing up there was this strong feeling that I had to get the hell out of Sayreville, but after many moons and many moves, I am really nostalgic for the Sayreville I grew up in. Punk rock shows at Club Bene’, skate jams at Wilson school, Kennedy Park clay pits, rec soccer, Mr. Dee’s hot dog truck, the YMCA, really long Polish last names and Jon Bon Jovi.
In 2007, my family moved from a tiny farm in central Pennsylvania to Alachua, Florida. We are 15 minutes from Gainesville, home of University of Florida.
What is the most awesome thing in or about your neighborhood?
I live in downtown Alachua–which is a very small town with a kind of dead Main Street. My neighborhood, however, is very sweet and charming. The majority of the houses are timber frame Florida cracker style from the early 20th century and mid-century modest ranches constructed from a cinder block that used to be manufactured locally called Ocala block. It has a warm, subtle orange tint to it and has a shorter height than what you normally think of when you think of cinder block. The Ocala block looks great unpainted and appears similar to brick–albeit a different color. This being north Florida, the streets are lined with huge water oaks dripping with Spanish moss. Crepe myrtles, azaleas, jasmine, camellias, magnolias, honeysuckle, loquats, and wisteria can be seen blooming throughout the year and are almost as common as the water oaks. What’s really great about downtown Alachua is that it’s very walkable. I have the supermarket, post office, library, health food store, yoga studio, and playgrounds all within a half mile or less. Plus, a lot of younger couples live nearby, so the kids can walk to one another’s houses to play and there is always someone you know to smile and wave at as you move about town.
What are your favorite place you go locally to discover hidden treasures.
Alachua is really tiny and Gainesville is a college town so I tend to do my “local” hunting in Ocala, about an hour away. There is a lot of great thrift shopping and estate sales in Florida because there are so many retirees here.
What blogs or websites do you visit regularly?
I love the internet so much! For design inspiration of multiple varieties I like: Grain Edit, Apartment Therapy, Type and Lettering, Bleubird Vintage, Design Sponge, How About Orange, Swiss Miss, Etsy. For recipes and foodish inspiration: Scissors & Spice, My Baking Addiction, Joy the Baker, Friday is Pizza Monday is Soup, Matt Bites. Celebrity gossip: Celebitchy & Jezebel. Yogic thoughts and wholistic living (to make up for celebrity gossip): Hari-Kirtana, Omkara World. I am super devoted to Facebook and not so into Twitter. I love keeping up with some businesses and blogs through their FB pages. Here are the ones I think keep it fun: Andie’s Specialty Sweets, Mary Adams The Dress, The Lotus and the Artichoke, Fishs Eddy, Mama’s Sauce, The ChopShop.
As a kid, were any of your toys and clothes hand-me-downs? We want stories, please!
My sister is 5 years older than me so I didn’t get many of her hand-me-down clothes. I was kind of small as a kid so I often got hand-me-downs so her clothes were passed on to other girls. I did wear a lot of hand-me-downs but there are no horror stories. My mom ran with a pretty suburban Jewish crowd so Jordache jeans and Guess denim vests were not in short supply.
How often do you go to garage sales, flea markets, etc.? Any personal tips you’d like to share?
With 3 kids, I don’t seek out yard sales but here in north Florida we have mostly carports, not garages. Whenever we go to the beach or are checking out a new town, my husband always makes it a point to pull over at thrift stores just to keep me happy. And now he has gotten really into it, although our tastes and interests are not always in synch. When I hit the thrift stores, I head straight for the housewares section. I look for vintage dishes with bright colors, bold patterns, and few utensil scratches. I’ve honestly studied thousands of patterns online so I get very excited when I know a dish is hard to find. Another important tip when buying second hand dishes is to run your finger around the rim to catch any chips your eye may have missed. I also love vintage barware and coffee cups. For barware, I like platinum bands that are mostly in tact. There are so many great stacking glasses and mugs out there. They are great space savers in your cupboards.
Have you ever taken home an object you found in the street or dumpster? If so, what was it? And where is it now?
When I was around 19 and living with my parents, I visited a friend in Brooklyn. His landlord just switched out the old windows of his railroad apartment, replacing them with vinyl nightmares. We spent the day cursing out the landlord’s decor aesthetic to one another and at the end of the day, I couldn’t handle seeing those windows cast off on the curb. I loaded them into the back of my Escort wagon and drove them back to my parents’ house in Jersey. The next day, when my mother saw those huge windows with peeling paint sitting in my pink suburban bedroom, she flipped. Lead paint this, poison that! There was no online to go on and find out the facts–that you will not get lead poisoning from standing next to old windows with peeling paint. I did not have the go-to word “patina” in my vocabulary to fight back with. So the windows did end up in the dump in New Jersey. RIP.
Are you a hoarder or a minimalist?
What is your most cherished thrifted, secondhand, vintage, upcycled object you possess? What’s the story behind it?
Since my early 20’s, I’ve moved around a lot so I’ve, unfortunately, parted with many great thrifted objects over the years. At the time I didn’t realize I wouldn’t be able to just get this stuff again. Remember when Catherine Holm stuff was just common in the thrift shops? For cheap! Now, forget about it. Definitely, my most cherished vintage possession is a Blue, white, and orangey-yellow California 1960’s souvenir handkerchief my grandmother gave me when I was 5 and visited her out in Los Angeles. Through all the moves across the country and all the boxes I’ve sent off to thrift shops, I’ve kept this little handkerchief folded and in a little metal box.
Do you create/make things? What are you working on these days?
I am so happy to say that I do make things! I have an Etsy shop called Fresh Pastry Stand. In my shop I have cake stands curated from vintage china in surprising combinations that create bold, vibrant visually pleasing serving ware. Also I am working on expanding my shop to include a vintage inspired line of beeswax candles. Right now I am focusing on that. My project, Fresh Pastry Stand Beeswax, is on Kickstarter right now and is doing really well. I am hopeful that I will reach my goal and the project will get funded.
By the way, what’s your day job?
Since my Kickstarter is doing so well and I’m starting to receive wholesale inquiries from shops interested in carrying my candles–along with the fact that I am in the process of making roughly 350 cake stands for an upcoming sale (October 16-19) on Fab. I am pretty happy to say making stuff for Fresh Pastry Stand and marketing Fresh Pastry Stand is now my full-time job. I am now one of those people who really loves what I do. Feeling like the luckiest girl in Florida right now!
The Short List
Type and Lettering
How About Orange
Scissors and Spice
My Baking Addiction
Joy the Baker
Friday is Pizza, Monday is Soup
Andie’s Specialty Sweets
Mary Adams The Dress