Category Archives: Projects

Interior Design projects.

Fabulous Spaces: Shelly & Andy’s Urban Revival

Fabulous Spaces: Shelly & Andy’s Urban Revival

Today I’m featuring the home of some of my closest friends, Shelly and Andy. Shelly and I were room mates in college and are still best buds. Shelly and Andy have their own wedding photography business and Andy is an electrician, so needless to say they have a perfect balance of creativity and the know-how to really create a beautiful home. They’ve added their own personality and design style to their home while really respecting the historic nature of the space. They’ve done and are continuing to do a lot of work on their home themselves. With its southern urban charm Shelly and Andy’s home is a real beauty.

Meet Shelly & Andy with the rest of their family Colby (the little black poodle) and Norman (the adopted gray alley cat). They all currently reside in this mid 19th century row house in the area called South City in St. Louis. They moved into this historic beauty, built by a Civil War doctor, in this up and coming area of the city a couple years ago.

We’ll start with the exterior of their home. Upon approaching the front of their home this beautiful magnolia tree greets with a certain southern charm. These bright blossoms always remind me of the movie Steel Magnolias. I guess that’s why I always think southern charm when seeing them.

When walking to their front door the details of their home really start to make a bold impression. The brick archway opens to a covered entrance boldly displaying this is the entrance to the home.

This brickwork is definitely from a time past. The design, care and attention given to these beautiful details is something very rarely seen in homes built today. The magic is really in the details in these historic homes.

The doorway is not the only emphasis on the front elevation. This large window is built with a carefully crafted brick arch surround giving it both prominence and unity across the front of the home.

The simple stained glass piece hung in the window adds an updated touch of texture and color. It also provides some privacy for the living room from the street view without having to add draperies to the interior space.

The tall ceilings are an added benefit of this 19th century home, making each room feel even larger. Traditional details like the casings and mantle stand in wonderful contrast to the updated furnishings with whimsical fabrics and a variety of textures.

The brick from the fireplace carries over to the the adjacent walls adding scale and texture to the great height of the walls.

The transoms over the door ways are another element that helps to break down the scale of the tall ceilings and allow light to be borrowed from room to room.

Shelly and Andy have added a little modern twist to the very traditional spaces in their home by selecting bold colors like these bright red walls in the dining room. The moroccan patterned rug and the rustic table and chairs with a more modern silhouette add a little cultural flair to the space.

The stairway in Shelly and Andy’s home is off the kitchen and although its a steep flight, the stained wood stairs and rail stand in nice contrast to the white beadboard on the wall.

Shelly and Andy have pulled together their master bedroom with a serene Spring green color on the walls. With no room for end tables with lamps because of the symmetrically flanking closets, Andy wired some adjustable wall sconces. A great solution and the ability for them to adjust and move around makes for great reading lights. A team effort, Shelly and Andy made their upholstered headboard themselves as well.

They’ve pulled together the space by letting the green walls stand as the main color in the room and selecting all neutral colored bedding with varying textures that really make the space look warm and rich.

Although the fireplace in the bedroom is not functioning, it adds a nice focal point on the main wall seen when entering the bedroom. Above the mantle is a beautifully over sized print of Shelly and Andy’s wedding photo. I love the large scale of the print with an elegant matte and frame.

I hope this tour through Shelly and Andy’s Urban Revival inspires you to add your own personal style and taste to complement your home’s architecture. Thanks to Shelly and Andy for sharing their lovely home with us as well! Have a great weekend!

Spring Has Sprung: Gardening Jumpstart #1

Spring Has Sprung: Gardening Jumpstart #1

I think it’s now safe to say that Spring has FINALLY Sprung in the Chicagoland region where I live! After a rough winter with one of the worst blizzards in history, I have to say I couldn’t be more grateful for Spring than I am this year. Sure the official date of Spring was a while ago, but the temperatures are just now starting to show signs that my beloved season, Summer, will in deed be on its way this year. The trees are just beginning to bud and the crocuses, daffodils, and tulips are now peaking their greens and blooms through the mulch and grass. I now consider it Spring!

As you have been able to tell from the wide variety of topics I share on this blog, I have a lot of interests, passions, and hobbies. One I’d like to share today is my love for gardening! Why Gardening you ask? Gardening is such a relaxing activity that Matt and I both love. It’s a low cost activity for us and allows us something to enjoy outside all summer long. We hope to use it as a source of organic produce as well.

Looking for a way to keep your kids busy outside when the weather is nice? Introduce them to gardening. It’s a great way for them to burn energy outside, while also educating them about biology, God’s creation, healthy eating, and introduces them to a new hobby! Have a picky eater? Try getting them involved in growing some of their own food.  There’s significant research that shows that kids are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they take part in cultivating them.

I may be slightly high maintenance (my hubby will laugh at the word slightly), but I have to say there is nothing better than hands, feet and knees covered in dirt from working outside. I can’t say I’ve acquired a completely green thumb, but it’s getting greener as I learn more. So, I invite you to join me in getting a little dirty this Spring and start a garden of your own.
How do you start a garden of your own? Here’s how I started mine.

For the past few years we resided in an apartment with just a balcony of outdoor space, but because we both love gardening we made it work and covered our balcony with planters as if it were a yard. We grew everything from various flowers to herbs to tomatoes to cucumbers and radishes. (I had to draw the line though when Matt wanted to plant corn).

Now we live in a house with a yard, so we have the room to plant much more. But, I encourage you if you just have a small balcony fill it with planters and enjoy!

Start your gardening season by first cleaning up your yard or whatever planting space you have. If you only have a balcony, congrats, less to clean up. If you have a yard, rake up the leaves and sticks that have been blowing around your yard all winter. Especially pay attention to your flower and garden beds by cleaning up dead plants from the previous year.

I decided to start some of my plantings indoors this year as its still a little chilly to plant certain crops. I’ve seen the cute little planting trays in the stores, but my frugality and hate for waste kicked in and I collected my own. Egg cartons, cottage cheese containers, trays that you get mushrooms and mixed greens in work perfectly. I poked holes with a knife in the bottom of all the containers except the egg crates because the cups are so small. I’ve been collecting these for a few weeks now. I encourage you to dig through your recycle bin and get creative.

I don’t normally grow everything from seeds and I suggest if you’re just starting to garden to start some things like tomatoes from plants you buy at your garden store. I thought I’d be a little more adventurous this year and try to plant more from seeds. We’ll see how it goes!

I used a combination of soils to start my container plantings indoors. When planting from seeds use some seed starting formula soil. It’s available at garden stores and larger stores like Walmart that have a garden department. I mixed some of the seed starting formula with some potting soil. Follow the seed packet directions for the depth the seeds should be planted. Cover and water thoroughly (gradually for the ones in the egg cartons).

Make sure to keep the names of the plants with each container so you don’t forget what’s in each one.

Bring them inside and place in windows that get sunlight. Seeds are supposed to begin to sprout in 7 to 14 days. I’m only on day 2 myself so I’ll let you know how they work.

Make sure to put something underneath the containers that you poked holes in. The lids of some of the containers work really well for this purpose.

I hope this gets you excited to start your own planting this year. Gardening doesn’t have to be anything major. You can start this year by just growing some tomatoes in pots and then add some more each year. Stay tuned and watch how my garden grows this year. Let me know how it goes!

Clever Throw Pillows

Clever Throw Pillows

Over the last year I have continued to see and been enamored by throw pillows I’ve seen in home stores and magazines. Their beautifully patterned prints and various textured fabrics really make even the dullest of sofas really pop. I think of throw pillows like the special spice that really makes a recipe zing. They can just add so much.

My dilemma: I’m always attracted to the most expensive throw pillows. I like rich fabrics and expensive designer prints, but don’t have the budget to add them to my own living room.

I kept thinking “why don’t I just buy some fabric and make my own throw pillows?” I searched around online for fabrics that caught my attention, but again I seemed to like the fabrics that cost upwards of $40/ yard or even more. Again, out of my budget…I’m really frugal and sometimes just cheap.

My solution: One day I was walking through World Market and saw they had a clearance section of cloth napkins and cloth placemats and the light bulb went off! I loved the fabrics and prints and they were already the size of throw pillows. There was a nice blend solids and prints that coordinated well. At $1 to $3 each I decided I had nothing to lose.

And my quest to turn these remnant cloth napkins and placemats into throw pillows began!

I wanted to make the throw pillow covers have a removable pillow insert so I could wash them. So, the only other thing I needed to buy was pillow stuffing and fabric for the insert pillows. I stopped by the craft store and a bag of pillow stuffing was anywhere from approximately $15 to $25. And I thought, yeah right…there has to be a cheaper way to make a pillow. And I found one. For $2 to $3 each I bought bed pillows from Walmart. Not only did I have my pillow stuffing, but also my cloth for the pillow inserts.

So, here’s how I made my throw pillows and how you can make yours as well!

In addition to the fabric (napkins or placemats) and cheap pillows to pull apart for the stuffing and fabric,
you’ll need a sewing machine, thread, pins, fabric scissors, and upholstery needle for your sewing machine (which I’d highly recommend using because when I used regular sized needles for my machine I broke 2 needles trying to make it work. Invest in the upholstery needles).

1. Wash the cloth napkins or cloth placemats first. This is really important as most of the fabrics will shrink a little and some more than others.

2. Find which fabric you want for the front of the pillow and which you want for the back. I suggest you use the napkin or placemat to its full size (don’t fold it down to fit the backing fabric). The backing fabric needs to be a little larger than the front fabric.

3. Iron both pieces of fabric (check the tags’ care directions first).

4. Using fabric scissors, cut the backing fabric in half where you want the opening for the pillow insert to be.

5. Pin back the un-hemmed edges you just cut and sew along those edges to finish them.

6. Line up outer edges of fabric, using the front fabric as a guide and starting in one corner. See photo below. Pin one of the short edges of the front and back face together, print sides out. And sew short sides of fabric together, on the inside of the fabrics edge.

7. Pin the long side of both pieces of fabric together. Then fold under the backside fabric on the short end to align with the end of the front fabric, pulling taught, and pin along this edge. Sew along these edges on the inside of the finished edges of the fabrics. See photo below.

8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 with the other piece of backing fabric, overlapping the middle edges by at least 1 1/2″.

9. Create insert pillow by sewing two pieces of fabric together face sides in on three sides and half of the 4th side. Turn the fabric face side out. Stuff the pillow. The hand stitch the remaining opening.

10. Stuff the insert pillow into the pillow case and voila!

You’ve created a beautiful throw pillow that will turn a nice chair into a “Oh, what a cute chair”!

Sweet Cupcake Beauties

Sweet Cupcake Beauties


I visited my sis, Sara, over the weekend and she’s been showing me some of the adorable cupcakes she’s been making. They’re so clever I thought I just had to share them with you. She’s been baking them following this cupcake cookbook called What’s New Cupcake? by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. It has some really cute ideas for the most adorable cupcakes for any occasion. And these are definitely Kid Friendly, as the book has some wonderful ideas for cupcakes for kids’ birthday parties.


(Above Photo) Sara made these cupcakes for her boyfriend, as a special treat as they love to eat Chinese food together. These 6 cupcakes are put together in a pan to look like fried rice. The cupackes are topped with rice crispy treats and the veggies in the fried rice are mutlicolor Tootsie Rolls cut up. These would make a great gift for your Chinese-food-loving friends and would be adorable given in a Chinese food box.

(Above Photo) What a great way to welcome Spring with these colorful flower cupcakes. These beautiful flower cupcakes’ petals are made with miniature marshmallows cut in half and dipped in various color sprinkles with icing and jelly beans at the center. These little flowers would be a great Spring hostess gift, given in a basket with a layer of colorful cloth napkins underneath.

Try making these cupcakes allergen free. It will require quite a bit of replacement, but…hello…even those of us who can’t eat gluten, eggs, and dairy crave cupcakes.

Here’s how to make these tasty cupcakes allergen free:
Cupcake- I suggest just buying a mix like Hodgson Mills gluten free yellow cake mix
Eggs- Ener-G Egg Replacer
Dairy- Use whatever dairy substitute you can use (almond milk, rice milk, etc.)
Icing- Try Pamela’s Products gluten free icing mix

Thanks, sis, for the beautiful inspiration! Keep up the creative baking!

Spring Baby Shower Decor

Spring Baby Shower Decor

As promised earlier this week, here are the pics from Baby Shower last weekend that I did the decor for (with lots of help from friends may I add). I searched around the craft store for about an hour trying to find the perfect thing. Again, it had to be not “babyie” it needed to look fresh and welcoming and be gender neutral. We didn’t want to spend a bundle on decor, but wanted it to be really special. So, here is how it all came together.

Five of the table had the center piece shown above. A small bunch of silk daisies, in a clear cylinder vase filled with natural stones and green moss. A friend had a bunch of the antique baby blocks that added a beautiful touch to each table.

For 2 of the centerpieces I bought 2 bunches of fresh flowers (one for each vase) and had these twigs I painted white for a winter centerpiece. I placed them together in taller clear cylinder vases and stuffed a little green spanish moss to pour out of the top (holding the stems all in place).

Earthy and simple!

The diaper cake was elegantly placed on a cake stand with a clear plater on top (nice touch June) on the gift table!

On the drink table sat an antique baby wagon with more of the antique baby blocks, a colorful runner (really placemats we pulled together), and a 3 tiered stand with chocolates and coffee accessories.

Eating, chatting, laughing, and loving on the mom-to-be!

A great time celebrating a wonderful blessing in life! Great job ladies for pulling off a wonderful shower! Only a month until we’ll all get to meet the new little one!

Diaper Cake for Spring

Diaper Cake for Spring

I just made a diaper cake for a dear friend’s baby shower this past weekend.

She’s due to welcome her little into the world at the end of the March, so we’re all getting really excited! She doesn’t know if her little one is a boy or girl, so she is doing most of her bedding, blankets, etc. in green, so she can add in blues or pinks when she meets her/him.

With my excitement for Spring and knowing the baby will be born this Spring, I went with a Spring look for the diaper cake and shower decor (I’ll post later this week). I was trying to get some inspiration for it all and kept thinking about Spring green moss. Its the right color, not overly “girlie” or “babyie” (neither the mom-to-be or myself are into the “baby look”; you know clowns, noah’s ark, winnie the pooh, etc.). So, this fresh look really seemed to work well.

I used green moss and 2 small bunches of silk daisies I bought at the craft store, as well as pale yellow satin ribbon I got from Buy Buy Baby (they have available in their complimentary gift wrap station) to decorate the cake.

On the tiers of the diaper cake are baby items mostly from the mom-to-be’s gift registry, including the book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” (one of my childhood favorites and this one is a cardboard book, so its great for young children). There are 2 baby bottles in the center of the cake and one on the lower tier. The cake includes 100 size 2 diapers that will definitely be used in the future.

There is a pack of “rockstar” pacifiers and a baby teething toy, as well as a sippy cup and travel sized baby care items.

Diaper cakes are great baby shower gifts, as they’re not only a gift but a decor item on the gift table and can decorate the baby’s nursery for a while.

Have a baby shower you need a gift for? Not sure what to get? Let me know as I now offer diaper cakes for sale, special made for the mom-to-be’s nursery theme and registry items. Interested?  Contact me through the Ask Madindy page.

Quick Valentine’s Dessert

Quick Valentine’s Dessert

Just in case you forgot, today is Valentine’s Day. So, you have no idea what sort of dessert you can have on a restricted diet or with limited time to make it…How about chocolate fondu!

Even with my restricted diet, chocolate fondu is a great no bake dessert that I can eat.

The best part about chocolate fondu for Valentine’s Day is its a fun activity that you can share with your loved one!

Here’s how I make my chocolate fondu:
I take a package of allergen-free semi sweet chocolate chips and melt them down in a double broiler. I swirl in a little water and a touch of vanilla extract; stir thoroughly and pour into your fondu pot with a candle or sterno lighter below.

I found this cute little fondu pot at a thrift store several years ago…the red color makes it feel even more festive!

My favorite fondu dippers that follow my restricted diet:
Strawberries
Pineapple
Marshmallows
GF Animal Crackers
GF Graham Crackers
GF Pretzels
Bananas (I can’t eat em’ any more but used to be my favorite dipper)

Even with not much time to prepare and even on a restricted diet, you can enjoy this delicious dessert/activity with your loved one. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Fun Valentine’s Day Details

Fun Valentine’s Day Details

Valentine’s Day is almost here! To be honest, its kind of snuck up on me this year. I’m really not into decorating with little paper hearts or anything like that. But I do very much enjoy warm reds and pinks in my home at this point in the year when Spring just seems like it’ll never come and white and gray are the only colors outside right now.

So, here are some of my ideas to make your home feel a little warmer and cozier with the glow of Valentine’s Day, without the paper hearts. Here I’ve just pulled out little things I already have that happen to have a rosie appeal. Hope this will inspire you to pull out the decor you already have that will make your home feel a little more festive.

Above: A red bud vase (gift from my Mom) with faux queen anne’s lace flowers. I love the red and white contrast and queen anne’s lace always has an air of romance.

A beautiful red knit throw (Christmas gift from my hubby) encourages a little cozying up on the sofa when its freezing outside.

This red table runner sits on my buffet table, adding a little color with its varying shades of reds. The silver paisley embroidery adds a little ethnic flair and sheen.

The beads on the ends of the runner add a beautiful finishing detail.

Add a little romance to your home with some candle light.

I took a gold serving tray and a bunch of white candles (with varying height) and created this display on top of my buffet table. I let the wax drip as it wants, as I love the warn look it creates.

Pull out some of your cute tea cups or mugs. I found these little mugs at a garage sale in a free bin.

I love the little strawberry details (again they make a nice red against white contrast that can look festive even though they aren’t hearts).

Brew some Roobios Tea for Valentine’s Day. Roobios is my favorite type of tea and its so festive as it brews tea that is red in color and full of flavor, not to mention is great for relieving chest congestion and tight lungs. You can buy various Roobios Teas at www.ourspecialtea.com/

This tapestry (a gift from my sister that she brought back from India) is one of my favorite things hanging on my walls. The brilliant red hugh adds some Valentine’s Day festivity, while adding great color to my living room.

One of my favorite parts of this tapestry are the actual pieces of mirrored glass sewn into the tapestry. I love the little bits of reflection that add such life to the piece.

This beautiful calendar features vintage Parisian poster on each month’s page. Another “happy” (gift) from my sis, it brings festivity to my kitchen walls.

This may be one of the more traditional Valentine’s Day decor items I own. A treat from my Mom, this little towel is great to bring a little festivity to the bathroom or kitchen.
I hope these ideas will inspire you to search through your own decor items and use what you have to make your home a little warmer and more festive this Valentine’s Day!

Re-purpose It: Tiered Serving Trays

Re-purpose It: Tiered Serving Trays

These beautiful tiered serving trays seem to always catch my eye. They’re an ode to a time long past when ladies once served mini desserts on tiers at tea parties. You certainly can still use them for that purpose, but let’s be honest…
How many times a year do you use it for that purpose?

I often find these beautiful little tiered trays at garage sales and thrift stores. I bought this particular one at a thrift store a few years ago. Honestly, I bought it not knowing what I would use it for, but I found a great everyday use for it pretty quickly.

I put the tiered serving tray on an unused are of my kitchen counter near my bar stools and my hubby, Matt, actually came up with a use for it. He started putting his keys, wallet, spare change, stamps, and check book in the tiers. I figured as long as they stay off the counter, I’m a happy camper. So, now this tiered silver serving tray acts as our catch all area. I like keeping post-its and sharpies, tape, tiny tape measures and screw drivers there as well. Its so nice to have all this stuff so easily accessible!

So, this Re-purpose It idea is a little less elegant than placing tiny cakes on the tiers, but at least it gives these tiered trays new life. You can still use them for serving your deserts, but now you have an everyday use for them as well.

My suggestion is to place the tiered tray in a spot in your home that generally collects keys, coins, etc. That way you know it will definitely get good use!

Baby Shower Details

Baby Shower Details

Earlier this week I featured a diaper cake that I made for a baby shower I helped throw last weekend. I feel like I keep running across more and more pregnant ladies due this Spring. So, I thought you may enjoy seeing some of the details for this Baby Shower to give you some ideas for a Baby Shower you may be throwing in the near future! No paper streamers or heavily frosted cakes here…Check it out!

Above you can see the diaper cake as a decoration on the central coffee table.

I loved this chair layout for the Baby Shower. The mom-to-be got a big comfy chair to sit in with all the ladies’ chairs surrounding, so they could easily see the gift opening. The coffee table and rug in the center helped the space to feel more intimate, anchoring all the seats into one seating area.

Forget the plastic cups and plates, we used a classic cut glass punch bowl and traditional punch glasses. We (the four of us who threw the shower) decided we had these great items at our disposal and didn’t mind washing dishes if it meant using these beautiful pieces. Back to the classic entertaining pieces…yeahhh!

We really used minimal decor for the Baby Shower, but it really turned out beautiful. Since Cheri, the mom-to-be, is having a boy and her nursery theme is nautical, we tied all the decor at the shower together with a color palette that reflects that: Blue (more turquoise), Yellows, and White.

Above you can see the food table with a simple yellowish gold linen and a large turquoise vase filled with flowers in yellows and white with large winding stems to give it a little earthy flair.

Because we kept the food really simple we used varying height stands and trays for displaying the food to giving the table a rich appeal. We kept the food really simple with fresh fruits and a veggie tray with 3 different kinds of hummus, 2 trays of miniature quiches, and brownie and cookie bars. No heavily frosted cake here…every shower I’ve been to, it never seems to really get eaten (ladies seem to not like the heavy icing).

We had the privilege of using the beautiful traditional appetizer plates that have a ring to hold the punch glasses. They’re not only beautiful, but so practical. They allow you to hold your plate of food and punch glass with one hand, while chatting and eating at the same time. Love these!

I love using what I have and Re-Purpose It in order to decorate. These little turquoise vases are actually votive candle holders. I just loved the color and thought they’d be perfect for the event. So, I purchased one bunch of simple white fresh flowers and cut them to fit in these little “vases.” We set these little arrangements around on some taller bistro tables and next to the diaper cake on the coffee table. They’re small, but really added a pop!

As a host of a shower I think its important to have a clearly designated space for people to put their gifts for the mom-to-be. I think the best way to designate the gift drop spot is to place a table near where the guests will enter and designate “this is where gifts go” by simply placing one gift there. People will get the idea and then you won’t have to answer 20 questions of “where should I put my gift.” We just simply moved the table to the gathering area when it was time to open gifts.

This Baby Shower was a great time. I hope you feel inspired for your next event to think beyond the paper streamers and heavily frosted cakes! Let your creative mind run wild!

The mom-to-be and each of us hosting got to take home a small bunch of flowers from the shower to put into bud vases at home. I put mine in this beautiful bud vase that was a wedding gift from my sis. Its been really nice to have fresh flowers in my home this week…A preview of Spring!