Category Archives: Projects

Interior Design projects.

Madindy on Etsy

Madindy on Etsy

At the end of this wonderful Thanksgiving Day I’m excited to announce that I’ve opened my Etsy Shop! Yeahhh! So excited, as I’ve been working on this for a while now. There are now a few items posted and it’s up an running, so very thankful for that.

Etsy.com is an online marketplace for handmade and vintage items. If you’re new to Etsy you’ve been missing out. It’s a great place for Christmas shopping.

My Etsy site is http://www.etsy.com/shop/madindy.

The first part of my Etsy shop that I’ve launched is handmade headbands with feathers and antique jewelry. I design and make each piece myself. Check out my Etsy site for the items still available for sale.

The headband above is still for sale on Etsy, along with others. And below are headbands that I’ve already sold to a boutique and individuals. These have sold like hotcakes, so check out the ones still available by clicking this link http://www.etsy.com/shop/madindy. They make great Christmas presents and are great to wear to parties this time of year!

*A special thanks to my lovely friends for being my models!

Easy Freezing

Easy Freezing

Generally I just cook for two people, Matt and myself. So, I often end up with more meat than we need for one meal. And after our successful gardening season I’ve ended up with more cousa squash than I know what to do with. All this to say freezing has become essential.

I got really tired of how long it took to thaw big clumps of frozen meat and it always get so disorganized in the freezer. So, here is a little tip for Easy Freezing.

Start off by dividing the meat into portions that you’d make for one meal. If you cook for just yourself then divide out the meat into single portions. If you cook for four people then divide the meat out for four portions.

With a permanent marker write out what you’re storing and the date onto a freezer bag. Place the meat into the bag and flatten with the palm of your hand until the meat is as flat as you can get it. Seal the bag getting all the air out that you can.

Store the bags flat in the freezer.

Storing meat this way, not only keeps your freezer organized, but it also cuts down the amount of time it takes to thaw it. It also thaws much more evenly when stored this way. This method works best for ground turkey, ground beef, ground chicken or flattened steaks or chicken breasts.

This method works really well for shredded zucchini, left over chopped fruit or other veggies. It also works really well for leftover soups, stews, chili, and pasta. Freeze individual portions and thaw the day before for lunch.

I hope this helpful tip will help you not only stay organized, but also save you time and keep you from wasting leftovers.

Inhabit Photos

Inhabit Photos

As promised, here are some photos from, Inhabit, the plays I worked on doing set design. The scenes were set in an office building/warehouse, so my big challenge was to transform the spaces in just one night (I had lots of great help). Nothing was bought…everything was bought, borrowed, or temporarily stolen from cast or crew member’s homes.

I love before & after photos because they truly show transformation. So, here are the photos! There are a few scenes left out…taking photos during the craziness of the event was a challenge.

Before: The room used is a Dance Studio

After: Independently owned, artsy coffee shop…think about hippies and the Portland scene

After: Coffee Shop Scene, Audience seated in a chairs of all shapes and sizes to add to eclectic feel of the scene


After: Coffee Shop Scene

Before: The room used is an Office Lobby

After: Living Room in the home of a young couple

After: Living Room Scene entitled “In the Ductwork”

After: The big challenge in this scene was covering the large posters on the walls and hanging the curtains without hanging anything in the walls. Thanks to Rachel Rack, a lot of fishing line, and a drop ceiling…mission accomplished.

Before: The room used is a Conference Room

After: This scene takes place in a Bedroom. Scene called “I Can’t Remember It Right Now”

Before: The room used is an Office Kitchen

After: Kitchen in an apartment, scene from “The Odd Couple”

After: “Odd Couple” Kitchen Scene…and yep that’s my hubby Matt playing Felix Unger…My personal favorite scene but I guess you could call me biased.

Inhabit: Scenes in a Warehouse

Inhabit: Scenes in a Warehouse

I’ve been really busy lately working on a new project…always got my hands in a new project I suppose. I’m the set designer for Inhabit: Scenes in a Warehouse this year.

What is Inhabit?
Inhabit is an annual show that is a series of short plays performed in nontraditional spaces. This year the plays are going to be performed in the Christian Youth Theater warehouse and office spaces. Musicians will perform and lead the audience through the various spaces from one scene to the next. The plays will be followed by an art show, where local artists will be showing and selling their work.

Inhabit was started by actor/director, Kellee Stall as a way to “provide a safe place for artists to tell a story with excellence and to validate the artists through compensation.” And mission accomplished that’s just what has happened with Inhabit. Actors, designers, musicians, and artists all get to create together to make something wonderful to share with others and actually get compensated to do it. As any artist knows, we use our skill often for free so to be compensated is an amazing aspect of the project.

How am I Involved?
My job as the set designer is to transform an office lobby into a living room, a dance studio into a coffee shop, a conference room into a bedroom, an office kitchen into an apartment kitchen, a warehouse into a garage sale, and a truck port into a park. Needless to say I’ve got my work cut out for me. I’ve had some great help along the way from Kellee Stall and Rachel Rack as this is my first time to do set design. These women are guiding me along through all the crazy amounts of details.

Also, I should mention my hubby is one of the actors this year, so its fun to be working on a project together.

How Can You See the Show this Year?
It’s a one day only show. Limited seating available. This Saturday, August 27th. Shows at 1pm, 4pm, and 7pm. Ticket reservations required by calling 847-447-6696 or emailing Inhabit2011@gmail.com. Tickets $5 each. Address: 755 Industrial Blvd, Cary, IL 60013.

Check out Inhabit’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=117849454975104

Inhabit was just featured today in the Northwest Herald’s Sidetracks section’s front page. Check out the article here: http://www.nwherald.com/2011/08/24/musicians-actors-inhabit-cary-warehouse-for-unique-event/amt2mmv/

I’ll be sure to share photos of the set soon after the show!

Start Gardening: Part 5

Start Gardening: Part 5

I was thrilled as I approached my garden and saw such large leaves and tall plants, thinking about how much it has grown. And then upon getting closer I jumped with joy at the site of produce ripe and ready to be picked…There it all sat ready for me…zucchinis, kale, tomatoes, cabbage, green beans, and cucumbers!

I think this is the most fun time of year to have a garden because its beginning to be harvest time! This year we’ve put quite a bit of work into our garden, so its really nice to be reaping the fruits of our labors.

We left our garden with bags of produce; plenty to eat and some to share. I think our most exciting harvest were the zucchinis. As I approached them, all I could think, “is that this was not what I thought I planted.”

I thought I had planted the regular small, dark green zucchinis that you see in the grocery store. When in fact what I had planted are quite large and have white stripes on them. Sure enough after some research Matt and I discovered that what we had were Cousa Squash. These are middle eastern summer squash that is larger and thicker than regular zucchinis with whitish, green striping. They have a bit of a nuttier flavor than regular zucchinis as well.

We wondered what to do with these squash? I’ve never even heard of them. How do I prepare them?

I’m very excited to say, I’ve found quite a few ways to prepare them and can’t wait to share with you. So, look forward to my upcoming posts on various ways to use your zucchinis or cousa squash.

Fresh Blooms: Bring ‘em Indoors

Fresh Blooms: Bring ‘em Indoors

Major power outage today in the Chicago’s Northwest suburbs, so I’m seeking refuge in a local coffee shop…never been so grateful for wi-fi, AC, a toilet I can flush and fresh water (we’re on a well, so no power means no flushing and no water as well), and fresh coffee (didn’t get it this morning before the power went out..and I’m no fun to be around if I don’t have coffee).

Apparently the power could be out for a few days, but I’m praying it’ll be back on much sooner. So, with the power out I thought it’d be a good day to show you how to bring the fresh beauty of the outdoors inside without much effort.

These are some Spring blossoms I brought indoors as they were blooming in my yard. First there was Lily of the Valley. These little bells of fragrance grow very low to the ground and often just look like ground cover growing around trees and in shaded flower beds. Often the leaves of this plant grow pretty thick and cover the blooms from sight, so clipping a few and bringing them indoors really displays their delicate beauty.

For Lily of the Valley I suggest placing a handful of blossoms in a colorful bud vase. Just this small cluster of blooms filled the whole living area of my home with a delightful fragrance…added bonuses of these buds! Keep their vase full of cold water and they’ll stay fresh for about a week.

Blooming next in my yard were the Lilacs. My whole neighborhood seemed to be filled with thick Lilac bushes this Spring. Lilacs grow in a variety of colors from purple to pink to white on rather large twiggy bushes. They are extremely fragrant, so a small cluster in a vase can really fill your home with a fresh scent. I’m not a fan of artificial lilac scents, but the real thing is delicious. Caution: some people are sensitive to their scent, but if you’re not, they’re perfect indoors. I suggest clipping a few twigs full of blossoms and placing them in a medium sized, clear vase. These cut flowers remained fresh in my home for about 4 to 5 days.

Popping up next in my yard were one of my favorites: Peonies. These delicate flowers grow in medium sized bush fulls in beds that receive partial sun partial shade. Peonies bring a truly romantic air to bouquets and vases everywhere from your home to a bridal bouquet…you can’t go wrong with these blooms, growing in varieties from dark pink to white.

I really think peonies are lovely in the natural bushes outdoors, but their beauty really seems to be displayed the best when they’re clipped and placed in a cluster in a medium to large sized clear vase in your home. They not only bring a fresh fragrance indoors, but add a touch of romance to your interior decor.

When you’re cutting a bunch of peonies, I suggest clipping half blossoms that are already mostly opened and half blooms that are in their bud form. This really seems to make your bouquet last the longest; mine lasted just over a week. Ok if you have peonies in your yard, I know exactly what you’re thinking…”They are always covered in ants outdoors. There’s no way I’m bringing them into my home.” Well, here’s your tip of the day…

Clip the bunch of peonies, tie some string around the bouquet and hang upside down for about an hour on your porch or deck. With gravity working to your advantage, the ants will work their way out of all the nooks and crannies of the flowers and you can bring your bouquet indoors bug free! Timing wise, clip the blooms before a heavy rain hits, as the rain destroys the blooms on their bushes.

General flower clipping tips to keep your flowers lasting their best the longest indoors:
-Use sharp shears to clip flower stems
-Clip stems at an angle
-Clip the stems a little longer than you want them to be in their vase
-Clip stems outdoors, bring flowers indoors, fill vase with cold water, clip stems again and immediately place in vase
-Keep water in vase free of flower petals and leaves
-Change water in your vase at least every other day
-If its cooler in your home, the clipped flowers will last longer
-Don’t place clipped flowers inside sunny windows
-Clip some flowers that have already bloomed and some just before they bloom to make the bouquets blooms last the longest
-Remove dead or wilted flowers from your vase ASAP

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips to help freshen your home, bringing the outdoors in. If you live in the Midwest, here are some blooms to start looking for in your yard right now and in the months to come: zinnias, black eyed susans, daisies, cone flowers, hydrangeas, roses, and sunflowers to name a few. Enjoy the season both outdoors and inside your home!

Start Gardening: Part 4

Start Gardening: Part 4

Its been a while since you’ve seen my garden plot and wow has it grown! We’ve harvested tons of lettuce (loose leaf, bibb,  and spinach) and have made tons of garden fresh salads.

The great part about lettuce is that it continues to produce more delicious leaves after you pick them. We haven’t replanted the lettuce at all and yet we’re still getting more and more! I have to admit that I’m not much of a salad girl, but when it comes to garden fresh, I love it. Check out these tasty salads.

I’ve also started to pick kale and cabbage leaves and chop them in with my other varieties of lettuce for my salads. They’re both kind of bitter, but mixed in with the other varieties they add a great melody of flavors and tons of extra vitamins and minerals.

To turn this garden salad into a heartier dinner salad I added black beans, sunflower seeds, and sliced yellow and red peppers. With a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing (1:1 ratio of each) it brings the flavors all together.

This is our second planting of radishes and they are a great addition to salads and a really spicy snack with hummus.

We’ve also recently harvested some small carrots. I must admit I was really a skeptic when it came to the carrots. I really didn’t think they would grow but much to my surprise, they proved me wrong.

My proud gardening hubby, very pleased with his harvest.

We’ve also picked a small bunch of really sweet peas and a few squash blossoms (post to come on how to eat these).

We haven’t really done anything special to get our garden growing along…just plenty of sunny days (provided by the Lord), water, and lots of love. Squash and tomatoes to come soon!

Re-purpose It: Garden Stakes

Re-purpose It: Garden Stakes

This year has been a perfect growing season in the Chicagoland area, hot sunny days and plenty of rain. My garden is growing nicely. My hubby and I decided to plant such a variety of produce in our garden and I’m always loosing track of what’s planted where. So, I decided I needed garden stakes to mark each item. You know me…I never really think, “oh I’ll just go buy that.” I’m such a do-it-yourselfer, I always seem to think “how can I make it.”

I stopped by the thrift store and found tons of dinner knives (odds and ends from many different sets) and bought a hand full. I broke out my acrylic paints and painted away. To prevent the paint from peeling off of the metal I double coating each knife with water based polycrylic.

I love this Re-purpose It project because it gives these old unwanted items a new life! Talk about ‘Going Green,’ I think Re-purposing old items is the ultimate way to ‘Go Green.’ The various shapes and details on each knife really makes for such a wonderful variety.

Dinner knives work perfectly for these Garden Stakes because the knife end holds really well into the ground. Hope you feel inspired today!

Start Gardening Part 3

Start Gardening Part 3

With warm sunshine and lots of rain, my garden is growing very nicely. The seeds have sprung into sprouts that have pushed their little heads through the soil and are now reaching for the warm Spring sun. The lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, peas, radishes and kale are loving the cooler days. And as the sun starts to warm the rich soil in the next week, it’ll soon be time to plant the tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers outside.

So, how do you prepare your seedlings you planted in containers indoors for planting in your garden outside?

Once the seedlings begin to lose their first leaves, grow their true leaves and are gaining height quickly you know they are almost ready to be planted outdoors.

Next, its time to move the seedlings in their containers outdoors. They should be placed somewhere outdoors where they’ll get some sunlight but not a full days’ worth of hot sun. Make sure to keep them well watered and watch how low the temperatures fall at night. If the temps are dropping low bring them indoors. They should stay in their containers outdoors for about a week in order to be properly acclimated.

Once your seedlings begin to sprout in your garden, what’s the next step?

If you’re like me, when you read a seed packet and it says to plant the seeds however many inches apart, you think, “but if I plant more that’s even better.” Sorry to say like I found out, wrong…The seedlings won’t continue to grow to maturity unless they have enough room, sunlight, and water. And if they’re planted too close together they rob each other of all three.

So, once your seedlings begin to sprout through the soil, you have to cut some of the seedlings back so the remaining ones will continue to grow larger. Cut them down at the soil level, leaving enough seedlings properly spaced according to the specific seedling packet.

Once you’ve cut down all those little seedlings that weren’t spaced far enough apart, don’t throw them out.
Did you know you can eat the spinach, lettuce, and radish seedlings? I added the seedlings to a some store bought lettuce and had my first taste of my garden produce…even as small as it was.

Make sure to watch your garden plot to see if any little critters have been enjoying your garden space. I found that a few neighborhood deer just loved tromping through my little garden plot, so some fencing was in order.

Enjoy your yard this growing season by joining me and growing your own food!

Start Gardening Part 2

Start Gardening Part 2

Even though this week is feeling more than winter than spring temperature wise, flowers are still budding and my gardening efforts continue. So, did my seeds I planted in small containers indoors a week and a half ago ever sprout and push through the soil? Should you even try to plant seeds to start them indoors? Does it actually work?

I’m excited to say YES! Its only been a week and a half and my zinnias (flowers) are growing quite nicely.

My tomato seeds are springing up from their little egg carton cups, bending to reach for the sun. I was most skeptical about the tomato seeds because I’ve never grown tomatoes from seeds, but so far they’re working really well.

My cucumber and squash seeds are poking their little sprout heads through the soil and growing more each day.
All I’ve done with my potted seeds is to plant them in well drained containers in a mixture of potting mix and seed starting soil. I’ve placed them in well lit windows inside my home and watered them with warm water as needed and Voila!

Matt and I started planting in our garden over the weekend as well. But, first we had to create our garden plot. So, how did we do it and how can you start a garden of your own? Keep on reading.

Plotted out our the garden area by spray painting where the perimeter would be. Then we dug out the sod and set it aside. Make sure to get all the grass roots out of the garden area so you don’t get grass growing up in your garden. Then we shook and scraped all the soil off of the clumps of sod, so we still had enough soil in the garden bed. Then we tilled and raked the soil, adding about 5 bags of top soil into the mix.

Then we took twine and sticks to plot out the planting areas within the plot. We decided to divide our large plot into 2 smaller plots with a walkway down the center so we could get into the middle of the garden to weed without stepping on the plants. We decided to plant our seeds in short rows going from the outer long edges toward the center. We marked each row with a small stick stuck int he ground along the outer perimeter of the garden.  I then drew out the garden on a piece of paper, writing down where each item went and will go.

We laid out the seed packet of each thing we are planning to plant so we could plan out where everything was going to go. And then we planted the seeds of the vegetables that could be planted this early in the year. Plants like radishes, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, and peas can be planted while its still chilly outside. We made sure to plant all the seeds leaving a 5 to 6 inch border around the edges for timbers we will later place around the edges to keep the grass and weeds out. Water the garden really well right after planting.

Because our garden plot sits on a slightly graded area I was a bit concerned that when I watered it or it rained really hard the soil would all wash toward the lowest area. So to help prevent the soil from washing away I lined the center pathway through the garden with stones that actually did help block the soil from running down the grade.

I hope this inspires you to start your own garden this year too!