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dVa at Home

dVa at Home

Office Shelving Organization Using Attractive Containers

Several weeks ago I installed these space saving shelves on the wall of my office/studio to have some space saving organization and tidiness. I had been procrastinating on getting containers to keep things organized and well, as the “Before” picture below shows, things got out of hand. As you can see these shelves found themselves in a terrible state of disorganization. Unfortunately, I found myself with an extreme inability to work with this chaos going on behind me. It was when I was recovering from the flu when I thought I would try to go into the studio and try to create. However, this crisis zone greeting me as I walked in made it impossible for me to concentrate. It was obvious at that moment that it was time to stop procrastinating and give The Container Store and much needed visit.

I decided to go with the color white and the texture of natural fiber to give some dimension. I am so very pleased with how everything came together. Everything has a home now. I also have a new improved system for keeping current projects I’m working on at my fingertips. Below are the “Before” and “After” photos – Enjoy!

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BEFORE: Office/Studio Shelving

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AFTER – Pretty and organized

 

dVa at Home

Pretty and Unique Colored Pencil Organization

While meeting with a client recently at my local Michael’s craft store, I stumbled upon the cutest little piece for workspace organization. I immediately knew that it would be the answer to my prayers for a more functional way to keep my colored pencils organized and accessable. As you can see below, this is what I had been dealing with for some time.

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Very frustrating to use. Each time I would get all of my pencils sorted and organized by color etc. they would become a heaping mess if the case was picked up by the handle and carried like a brief case. Hence, I began carrying the case flat which was very annoying. It got so bad that it affective my creative motivation and process.

Then I stumbled upon this gem by Recollections:

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dVa at Home, Holiday, Valentine's

Hearts to You!

The tradition of exchanging flowers and candy between loved one’s is fast approaching as we anticipate this Valentine’s Day season. How about adding something a little different and unique to your gift exchange? My Hearts to You Monogrammed Note Cards and Thank You cards make the perfect addition. These 4.25″ x 5.5″ cards are sold in sets of 8 and are now available in the shop. Enjoy!

 

Christmas, dVa at Home, Holiday

Merry Christmas with a Pop of Green!

When it came to designing my Christmas card this year I wanted to keep it simple but fun. What better way to keep things fun and festive than with color! I’ve been in this geometric type phase lately and I decided to create our card utilizing one of my new pattern designs. I created a Christmas tree shape with my Pop of Green Bubbles repeat pattern. Who says we have to stay with red and green to celebrate and feel the spirit of Christmas right?  Purple and green, together, are one of my favorite color combinations. The various shaped circles in shades of purple and the green mimic Christmas ornaments. It’s simple, it’s colorful and it’s very Merry – I think anyway…Enjoy!

 

 

 

dVa at Home, Thanksgiving

Autumn’s Splendor Thanksgiving Thank You Cards

They are here! My Autumn’s Splendor Thanksgiving collection now has Thank You Cards available in The Shop! These 3×5 blank inside cards are a great way to send a special “Thank You” during this Thanksgiving holiday season. They also make great hostess gifts too! Enjoy!

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Autumn’s Splendor Thanksgiving Stripe Thank You Card

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Autumn’s Splendor Thanksgiving Large Leaf Thank You Card

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Autumn’s Splendor Thanksgiving Small Leaf Thank You Card

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Autumn’s Splendor Thanksgiving Polka Dot Thank You Card

Autumn's Splendor Thank You Cards - Now available in the Shop!

Autumn’s Splendor Thank You Cards – Now available in the Shop!

 

dVa at Home

Inexpensive Fall Home Decor

It’s hard to believe that it’s Thanksgiving season already. For some reason I seem to be really into the spirit of things. In the years past it has been difficult to find a good selection of Thanksgiving decor anywhere. So imagine my delight when on a recent shopping trip with my daughter to find a wonderful array of Thanksgiving decor; and not just at one store but at several! Seeing all these items made me feel even more in the Thanksgiving spirit. I wanted to do more than just hang up my usual wreath for decoration this year. I decided that I was going to decorate the exterior of my home. After going to several stores, the frugal me found exactly what I wanted at the price I was willing to spend at Wal-Mart. Below are some snapshots of what I created for about $30.00 plus tax…Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Decor on Front Porch.

Thanksgiving Decor on Front Porch.

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Welcoming Wall Plaques from Wal-Mart – $3.50 each

I added Silk Leaves and Silk Embellishments to my flower pots. Wal-Mart $1.50 a spring for the large ones (I used two in each pot) and $0.75 for small ones (I used two in each pot) The lights and scarecrow I already had.

I added Silk Leaves and Silk Embellishments to my flower pots. Wal-Mart $1.50 a spring for the large ones (I used two in each pot) and $0.75 for small ones (I used two in each pot) The lights and scarecrow I already had.

A pumpkin to add a little spice and color. (Leftover from Halloween.)

A pumpkin to add a little spice and color. (Leftover from Halloween.)

Wreath of Fall Leaves that I already had and used for Halloween also; I just removed the spider.

Wreath of Fall Leaves that I already had and used for Halloween also; I just removed the spider.

I have two of these urns on either side of my garage door. I used the same method of filling them as I did the pots on my front porch; Two large sprigs and two small ones. The asparagus ferns are leftover from my summer planting decor.

I have two of these urns on either side of my garage door. I used the same method of filling them as I did the pots on my front porch; Two large sprigs and two small ones. The asparagus ferns are leftover from my summer planting decor.

 

 

 

 

dVa at Home

Fried Green Tomatoes Anyone?

Even though we had an abundance of beautiful red, ripe, juicy  tomatoes come from our garden this year, there were a few green ones. So what did I decide to do? Hmmm…make Fried Green Tomatoes! Not everyone in my family likes them, but I grew up having them and I LOVE THEM!  Making them is quite simple too. Some corn meal, flour, milk, salt, pepper and if you are daring some cyan pepper for a bit of zing! Below are the tomatoes from my garden that I decided to fry up.

Slice your tomatoes about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Season them with a little bit of salt and pepper both sides.

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Sliced & Seasoned Green Tomatoes

Put about 1 Cup corn meal and  1/2 Cup flour in a bowl and mix together.  If want a bit of zing add a teaspoon of cyan pepper to the mixture. In another bowl some milk. You can add an egg if you’d like; my grandmother was visiting so she had me add the egg. Mix together.

Take one of your sliced tomatoes and dip, both sides, into the milk mixture and then into the corn meal/flour mixture. Repeat twice for each slice. Set aside on a plate.

Milk mixture and corn meal and flour mixture for dredging the tomato slices.

Milk mixture and corn meal and flour mixture for dredging the tomato slices.

Now it’s time to start frying them up. I prefer and suggest that if you are lucky enough to have a really good seasoned cast iron skillet, use it. I am very blessed and fortunate to have been given one from my mother that was probably her mother’s; so it’s really seasoned. If you don’t, not to worry and non-stick skillet will work just as well only your frying time may be a wee bit longer.

I like to use Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) for everything in place of vegetable oil and this instance is no exception. If you don’t have any EVOO, vegetable oil will work just as well too.

Coat the bottom of your pan with about 1/4 inch of oil and heat. TIP: To check if your oil is hot and ready take a wooden spoon and turn upside down. Place the end of the handle part into the oil. If it bubbles around the bottom edge of it, the oil is hot and ready to use. Using a fork, gently slide your tomato slices into the hot oil. Fry until the edges are golden brown then carfeully turn over and continue to fry on the other side.

Tomatoes frying in hot oil.

Tomatoes frying in hot oil.

Tomatoes frying after they have been turned over.

Tomatoes frying after they have been turned over.

I like to make mine a little more crispy so I keep them in the oil a little bit longer. After you are done, take tomatoes out of the oil and place on paper towel before plating. There are many different dipping sauces you can serve with them. I’ve had various types of remoulade, jelly and ginger sauces. I’ve even eaten them with tasty thick balsamic vinegar. However my absolute favorite way of eating them when I make them at home is plain. I’ve listed the recipe below – Enjoy!

Fried Green Tomatoes - Yum!

Fried Green Tomatoes – Yum!

Deanna’s Fried Green Tomatoes:

3 or 4 Medium sized green tomatoes
1 Cup Corn Meal
1/2 Cup Flour
1 Cup Milk
1 Egg
Salt
Pepper
Cyan Pepper (optional)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil (enough to coat bottom of frying pan 1/4″)

 

dVa at Home

Welcome to At Home with dVa!

Lately I’ve noticed that my blogs posts are related to more things than my designs and what inspires me to create them. I have so much more I want to share with you all that are design and home related as well too. Which by the way inspires and motivates me to create my designs. After much thought and discussion I decided to create the “At Home with dVa” page on my site so I can share these ideas and inspirations with you. Here I will post my interests related to the creative side of  Home and Family; my other passions next to design.  It may be a space saving tip, a recipe that I decided to challenge myself with, a beautiful flower or vegetable in my garden, a DIY project that I’ve done or decorating ideas and tips. I hope you find what I share insightful and as inspiring as I do. I’ll leave you now with two beautiful tomatoes from my garden next to my basil plant. I love how the red of the tomatoes look next the the blue of the flower pot. I look at this picture and feel happy. Enjoy!

dVa at Home

Small Space Solution for my Studio

I use our sunporch for my home office/studio. I love this room! I have windows on two sides of the room that bless me with the most inspiring views ever; my backyard and my garden. This space was at one time an exterior portion of our house when it was originally built in 1970. So this area is not only small, but the floors are very uneven and have been a source of contention for me when coming up with storage solutions that would work in this space. I have tried using book cases and lateral file cabinets only to be frustrated with them tilting so badly that the drawers would constantly open on their own from the slant in the floor; even with putting up to three inches worth of shims under the legs. Needless to say coming up with a good storage solution for this space has been a challenge for me.

My Office/Studio after the purge and in need of a little bit more storage.

My Office/Studio after the purge and in need of a little bit more storage.

A major purge recently happened in our home while undergoing a preparation for selling it; which by the way didn’t happen…thank goodness. It was during this time that I finally got the chance to redo my studio and scale it down etc. I emptied this room and started completely over. The following is what I came up with for solving my storage problem without making my already small room feel overcrowded hence, taking attention from my beautiful views.

This is the wall I decided to utilize for storage.

This is the wall I decided to utilize for storage.

I decided to install simple wall mounted shelving. I got my supplies at our local “big box” hardware store.

Installation begins - this is so easy!

Installation begins – this is so easy!

Two tracks, four shelves, eight brackets and 30 minutes later, this is what I had:

Shelving installed!

Shelving installed!

Shelving completed and almost loaded up. Gia doggie is happy too!

Shelving completed and almost loaded up. Gia doggie is happy too!

Design Inspiration, dVa at Home

Where I’ve been…a Personal Note

It amazes me how just when you think your life is going smoothly; in a wonderful, peaceful direction where you are enjoying your family, creations and life in general, God throws you a curveball.  My husband and I, along with our children keep a very busy, fulfilling schedule, with our work, our family, our kids activities and our social obligations. We always have a lot of  “balls in the air” as the saying goes and that is normal for us. It is when a higher power throws that extra ball into the mix, the preverbial “curveball” is when things can change; drastically and unexpectedly. We were thrown 3. It is these “curveballs” that we were thrown that has been the source of my noticable absence.

Within a months time we lost 3 family members. Two of which were in one day. No matter if the bandaid is ripped off quickly or slowly, death is never easy. Dealing with grief and loss all while trying to maintain some sense of normality for our children (and ourselves) has been quite an undertaking. It has taken us a couple of months to reorganize and recover to get back into “our normal”  but we did it and are all doing well and living life again while maintaining our crazy schedules.

We are looking forward to a wonderful summer with more book signings for my husband’s new book (Defending a Monster), summer camp for our 5 year old, spending time with our 19 year old while she’s home from college, and finishing and creating new designs for Designs by dVa. We may even squeeze a vacation in there as well.

I want to thank everyone who stood by and supported us these past few months through difficult moments. Kind words and blessings go a long way and warms the heart.

Wishing everyone a wonderful summer!

Deanna