Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Knitwear for a horny 18th century bird.

As promised, I'm giving us an image dump of Outlander knits after yesterday's bucket list.  I feel warmer just compiling these images.  And I hope y'all have seen the show because it's rull good and I've been waiting about 20 years for it.  That is not an exaggeration I started reading these books in the 90s.  

The unexpected star of the show is of course the sex knitwear.  Now, I don't foresee me learning to crochet or knit this winter - it's a bucket list not a fantasy list - but I DO foresee me wearing lots of infinity scarves JUST like 18th century Scots did in a totes historically accurate fashion.  

here
I mean, did they even have infinity scarves?  I don't really know or care.

Look at Geillis' felted knit cape thingy too... here
They also seem to have infinity cowls made of fur...


I mean, damn.  And WITH wrist warmers?  It's too much.  

here
 Wrist warmers and a cape must only be worn astride a horse.  It's Scottish law.  Or Anthropologie's new catalog.  Either way they can have all my money.

here
 And you thought you were over the plaid this year... tsk, tsk...  

I strongly recommend fellow enthusiasts check out the blog of the costume designer, Terry Dresbach, for behind-the-scenes info and process details.  The accompanying forums are really good for more in depth information and fun discussions on things like feminism in the series and how the show got started (Terry is wife to Ron Moore - the show's producer of Battlestar Galactica fame).

But back to important things: LAYERING AND KNITWEAR.

here
I feel like this actress, Caitriona Balfe, is actually an elegant swan wearing delicate doll sweaters around her dainty avian wrists.  Somehow I get the feeling I'd look like a fat quail in sweatbands.

Maybe THAT'S my winter look.  Quail normcore.

Sadly google did not have a corresponding picture to put with this but I did find a sassy shrug.

here
Brown never looked so good.

UNTIL YOU SEE MY QUAIL NORMCORE OUTFIT.

here
Naturally I'm not the only one who went gaga over the clothes and knits because a quick search will pop up tons of articles which is the reason why this became its own post.  I couldn't stop!  

But the real winner here is etsy where you can get patterns to do yourself or take the lazy way out like a normal person and buy other people's hard work.  Find the chunky cowl/infinity scarf here, the arm warmers here, the cute collared capelet here, the shrug here and a million other variations and sellers.

Etsy wasn't much help for the great fur-lined riding jacket here but I think fur is enough places this year that you should be fine.
Or you could always update it a little like this jazzy lady:


Vogue Sept 2014 here
I like the Outlander-meets-Studio 54 vibe.  Let's all take a moment and imagine Fat Quail in Sad Disco for a second.

So glorious...

And if knitwear isn't enough to make you happy there's always this:


"Haha those sweatbands are delightful, Sassenach."


"I'm feeling chilled can I borrow your infinity scarf?"



"Damn girl your woolen shrug got me jacked let's do this."

Show returns in April.  How many orgasms knits can you fill your life with between now and then?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Squirrels, scarves and squandered time: my winter bucket list!

This summer I created a bucket list to try and make the most of one of my least favorite seasons and guess what?  It worked!  I drained the summer of all its fun times and truthfully felt more "in the moment."  

Turns out that even when I didn't intentionally set out to accomplish certain tasks they kinda worked out for themselves.  This probably has something to do with the 'power of intention' or subconscious something-or-another but I'll take it and not ask questions.

So in light of this roaring sucess, prepare for more seasonal-themed activities in my blogging future.  Like right now...  Here are my plans for this winter.  (It was supposed to be for FALL and Winter but we've already had several below freezing nights so we done passed Fall.)

[MS sidebar: this probably reads pretty boring but I actually do USE it for my own reference.  Blogging - it's like a very public to do list.]

-  Firstly, sneak into Solange's wedding pics DAMMIT THIS LIST IS ALREADY FULL OF FAILURE.


here
-  Secondly, to ward off the seasonal sads I'm going to BURN ALL THE CANDLES all the time.  Sometimes in December I don't see the sunshine because it rises and sets while I'm at work so to bring light into my miserable existence I'm going to burn a disgusting amount of candles and create the sun on my coffee table.  Confession: I bought a lemon mint candle from the Dollar General store for $5 and it's the best thing I ever did you're all getting one for Christmas.

- Threely, I'm finishing all of my Christmas shopping by the end of November because I want to enjoy the entire holiday month.  My list is complete and I've checked it twice and I'm getting the naughty people better gifts.

-  In this attempt to take December from 0 to 100 I'm going to spend my new non-shopping time doing superfun glitter crafts while watching American Horror Story and eating cheese straight from the block.  


unknown
I've got some oranges and cloves and twigs and shit is gonna happen.

-  See every tacky Christmas light show from here to the Mississippi River.  Cry at how beautiful America is.

- I'm going to tackle a fear and bake bread and dessert things like my middle name is Pan-fucking-era. The thing is I'm a terrible baker - I think it's the science of measuring and shit which confounds my tiny brain - but maybe this is the year I turn it around.  Pretzels and loaves and rustic rounds and, hell, maybe this is the time when I'll finally make a decent biscuit!  I will do wonders with flour and yeast!


Finnish pulla (or cardamom) bread
UPDATE: I made my Grandmother's famous yeast rolls that require yeast and kneading and rising and they turned out perfect!  So far so good!  Send me your bread recipes so I can own that shit too!

-  Become best friends with a fat squirrel.




-  I would like to bring my scarf game to the next level.  


here
If my infinity scarf doesn't come to below my crotch then what are we even doing, J Crew?  I should probably attempt to learn to knit or crochet for myself but let's be reasonable here - I'm better at shopping on etsy.

My scarf lust was partially inspired by Outlander and that corresponding picture hoard grew too large for this post so let's enjoy some 18th century costumes tomorrow.

-  Put a fat squirrel IN an infinity scarf.  Bonus points if I can get him in a little tiny kilt.

-  Maybe I should aim higher and just become the winter version of the White Witch.


here
-  I might aim for Tilda but I'll land somewhere around a 1980s Zsa Zsa wannabe on tv.  I was profoundly influenced/scarred by Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre in the 80's but I think I've worked through the nightmares by now.  Regardless, I have some pretty deep feels about this series and feel like I must watch the Snow Queen again.


here

here
This blue glitter motherfucker had a damn acrylic snowflake ipad for chrissakes.  So fantastic.

-  Read more books.  Less Gawker.

- Now that my weekends are free of gardening chores I can devote my spare time to working INside the house.  I want to paint my hallway, repaint and spruce up my bathroom, restyle my china cabinet, sell all the shit I don't want, frame all the art I have and actually HANG it, hang said art gallery-style down my freshly-painted hallway, organize my tools/mudroom, finish up a closet overhaul and lots of other small DIY projects I'll probably get around to actually doing in 2017.  

- Set a nice table.  Maybe for Friendsgiving, maybe just for me and Charlemagne.  Who's to know?


here
-  I do realize that Winter extends beyond Christmas so I will devote the rest of my post-holiday months to... I don't know, sadly staring out an icy window while drinking myself stupid.

-  Pay.  Off.  My.  Kitchen.  I've been making extra payments for the past year or so on my loans and I'm super close.  I'll do a kitchen update at the celebratory zero balance milestone.

-  I'm stepping up my cozy loungewear game this season too.  No more gross tshirts and ill-fitting Old Navy pajama bottoms with saggy butts.  Everything should look like Olivia Pope just robbed a cashmere leggings store.

-  But also cashmere legwarmers...

- Trying to be better about self care as I say every year.  Make my personal care - food, exercise, sleep - my priority.  Even over blogging.  I know, so dumb.  I'm off to a good start because I just started using the Sleep Cycle app and am loving it.  But then I counteracted the good start by not removing my makeup before I went to bed last night.  Dammit.

-  At the very least all this time stuck inside should allow me some creative time to make some art or work on some calligraphy. 

Surely that's enough to keep me occupied and fantasizing until April, right?

UPDATE:  I forgot about charity!  I want to make charity - whether it's my money or time or both - a bigger part of my winter/life.  And if I write it down for the world to see you can hold me responsible.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Come for the pie, stay for the ANIMAL SACRIFICE.

Welp, guess it's winter.  At least according to my nipples.  Hey wouldn't it be great if someone invented little tiny hand warmers but in the form of pasties?  Or an entire onesie made of the stuff...??  I'd never leave the house, lose my job, end up living in the sewer... but my nipples would be so, so toasty...

Rue Blanche A/W 2014 here
Behold my winter goals.  I've been on the oxblood bandwagon for a while but I'm amping up my personal colorstory to include platinum.  I attempted it last week at the salon but it came out more buttercream than icy bitch hair.  We shall prevail.

Simon Watson
I need some velvet in my life.  Besides, 'velvet oxblood' sounds kinda badass.  Kinda opposite of someone that might need self-warming pasties...

Maya Coline
This looks like an oxblood badass.  I bet her nipples are made of steel.  If I can't naturally look this cool with my normal boring fleshy nipples maybe I could cover myself in the ACTUAL blood of an ox.  It would really catapult my Friendsgiving to a new level.  Come for the pie, stay for the ANIMAL SACRIFICE.

So are you feeling the winter yet?  In your nipples or other tender bits?  What are you cooking for the holidays?  I need to set my menu.  I KNOW I'll be making Orangette's cream braised Brussels sprouts because they are a staple.  I might attempt baking some yeasty rolls from scratch...  I'm not sure if I can manage it without the power of platinum hair but we'll see what happens. 

That's what's good about just cooking for friends - if it tastes terrible or they don't agree with your sartorial colorstory everyone can laugh and then you add them to the animal sacrifice at the end of the meal.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wanna Vanta? It's blacker than hell and stronger than death...


This is your year, Wednesday, because SCIENZE did a thing.

Thanks to a Smarty McCalculuspants in jolly old England a new super black has been invented.  It's blacker than black.  It's called Vantablack and it does not fuck around.  

Vantablack is the darkest material ever produced absorbing all light except for .035%.  Charcoal absorbs all but 4% and my heart absorbs all but 2.3% if that gives you an idea of what we're dealing with here.  Basically, Vantablack is a stealer of light.  Probably souls too.  It's a Dementor.

here
It is also grown on tinfoil.  Dawww... that's kinda cute.  Would really add something exciting to my indoor container plants and seems like a natural fit with my BLACK THUMB.  

Puns.

Actually, I'm pretty sure this is how the robot Dementor army is born...

Vanta is actually an acronym for Vertically Aligned NanoTube Array which is what happens when carbon nanotubes are 'grown' on foil using Satan's magic.  I interpreted this as a jizzillion tiny black holes woven into a fabric that you can buy off the bolt at Hancock's Fabrics soon right?  

This is gonna take my ninja game to a whole new level, y'all!

I'm a little obsessed because it's basically a fabric so dark it limits your perception to two dimensions.  Name a chintz that has that kind of power, I DARE YOU!

Okay maybe a toile but that's really a technicality...

And what better way to celebrate a scientific breakthrough than with contemporary art?  Art's resident void-lover Anish Kapoor has expressed an interest to work with this new fancy material.  I think this seems like a natural fit considering:

Oracle

here

Untitled A

here

Void, 1989
Descent into Limbo B, 1992
Hole much?  

If you're like me then the first you thought of (besides a beautiful Nightmare of Infinite Wednesday Addams Ninjas) is that Vantablack would be perfect for Acme Portable Holes made famous by criminal masterminds like Roger Rabbit and Wile E. Coyote.

here
And that's exactly what artist Tom Estes created in 2012 when he made his 'Portable Black Hole' using the darkest carbon nanotube material ever created at THAT time.

Honestly, I thought those tourists were a different art installation they are so perfect.
It absorbed .045% of all light. 

That poor scientist is like the guy on Price is Right whose bid becomes worthless after the asshole next to him bids $1 more.

No Showcase Showdown for you, sir.

I've heard nothing about what Kapoor is going to do but one million dollars says it's a hole and people will call it spiritual and a brilliant commentary on the future or it's "intended as a reminder of the multiple, idiosyncratic pockets of forgotten histories; of absence and the unseen and unrepresented; multiple conflicting realities that exist side by side with official or recorded 'histories.'"  Oh wait that's what someone said about Tom Estes' hole.

They shoulda just left it at a fun hybrid of science and toons because I feel like that might be more accurate in this case.

Interestingly enough, another artist is working with the 'blacker than black' concept. Frederick de Wilde is working with NASA on some different carbon nanotube technology.  No word on his percentages yet...

"Klein's first artwork was drawing in the blue sky, my dream is to draw in deep space."
Now this art scientist describes his work as being heavily influenced by the work of Kazimir Malevich (no idea) and his invention of Suprematism - the "supremacy of pure artistic feeling" - as well as Russian mystic-mathematician-philosophers (is there any other kind of mystic-mathematician-philosophers?), the idea of "going beyond zero," Stanley Kubrick, Yves Klein's blue, Anish Kappor (hey hey!) and a lot of other really smart talk on contemporary (nano) art.  There's no mention of a robot Dementor army in embryo form but the whole article is worth a read.

He says he views his "nano engineered macroscopic art pieces as spaces of refusal, but also as spaces of imagination."  Despite the next sentence being something about us living in a media-saturated environment (ugh. gag me with a spoon, I hear that shit every day) I'm feeling some things about this way more than that "pockets of forgotten histories" jackoff noise.

Spaces of refusal... I mean, gotdamn!

I don't know maybe sometimes black holes can change the perception of space and time or maybe sometimes they are cartoons or sometimes they are just delicious cups of strong coffee and all equally important depending on what time of day it is and how much of the latter I've had to drink.

Or maybe it's all the same and I'm an uncultured swine but irregardless let's get ready for a Large Hadron Collider wallpaper collection coming soon!

Fun factoid: when I visited Germany last January for a design conference several speakers talked about the emergence of 'darkness' as an upcoming trend.  (Think big global movement not 'barf, chevrons.')  More than just the color black they described it as an engineered 'tension' which sounds delightfully ominous and maybe why I'm so obsessed by this material.  

Also, the NYT reported that Donald Kaufman announced black as the color of the month for November (oh we're doing colors of the month now?) so maybe it's starting...!  

I find trend forecasting to be incredibly fascinating so this might be absolute bullshit to you and that's okay.   But next time you see a neo-goth-warrior-princess-from-the-future editorial in Korean Vogue or have a good cup of black coffee maybe it'll make you pause...

...and think about watching Roger Rabbit because that shit was good please RIP Bob Hoskins.



Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sofa [Lion] King Pretty Rooms.

I saw some good things this week here on the interwebkins.  Also, I had a really good quesadilla.  A fine week indeed.

Apparently I wasn't the only one who felt like sharing this week as the One Room Challenge folks also debuted their goodies.  I haven't seen all of them but this one did catch my eye at Holtwood Hipster:


I thought that wall was green at first and was excited/jealous!  Turns out it's black but I approve this lady's use of texture.  And I think she MADE some pretty bitchin nightstands.  

I didn't even iron my pillowcases...

Design Manifest continues to slay for me and wins the before and after hands down.



Always nice to see a blogger/designer that uses things like "floorplans" and "schematics" too.

I doubt this next room was sponsored by Lamps Plus or done in six weeks but I'm having some deep emotions about this sofa.

Parisian apartment by Pierre Yovanovitch here

What's the point when a 'couch' becomes a 'sofa?'  Is it a dollar mark?  Should every 'couch' actually be a 'sofa' and only rednecks like me say 'couch?'  I guess technically any place I couch my ass is a 'sofa' even if it's a soggy cardboard box in a rectangular shape.

I kinda want to plop down face first like a big blonde inchworm and scoot down its serpentine curves.  Just me?

If I was a big blonde lion would they let me scoot around on the couch then?


Tummy rubs for your weekend!

(Editor's note: I made myself laugh so damn hard with today's title so if you are lost this might help.  Or maybe it's only funny to me which is most likely the case.)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sweet dreams are made of carnivorous greens. FINALLY.

Welcome, welcome, internet friends and strangers, to my inner sanctum where all the magic happens... the sauce flows (??)... the cat gets snuggled.   

Please put on your human-sized condom before you come in.


Sadly, I realized that I "started" this project in FEBRUARY of this year which is pretty embarrassing.  However, it's pretty much looked like this for the past three or four months so blame my poor blogging skillz not necessarily my completion skillz.  Well, you might hate that part too.  It's cool.


It's a fairly small room so I didn't want to get too cluttered or dramatic.  However my initial inspiration was a 'heart of darkness/carnivorous green' vibe which really only makes sense to me.

To refresh, the headboard wall is painted Valspar's Forest Canapy and the rest of the walls are Pantone's Cloud Dancer (see process here).  Dark green was a weird choice I know but after after seven months I still love it.  If you hate it I'm not offended in the slightest.

I thought having an accent wall would feel gimmicky or trendy but it doesn't at all (yet).  This wall is part of the main load bearing wall of the house and having a dark color on it feels kinda grounding.  I'm actually going to paint the rest of the hallway this wall connects to the same color as well.  Does this sound like I'm justifying an accent wall?  Maybe.   

Cohesion is my goal for 2015.


Also, this room gets great morning sun so having the rest of the white walls makes the whole space feel really open and airy.  Like you're almost DANCING IN THE CLOUDS. Eh...?!  EH...?! *eyebrow wiggle*

Someone previously asked me about the texture of my walls which after being painted blackish green now resembles avocado skin:

Or pimples?
This is ONE coat of FLAT paint.  I can't think of a reason to ever use flat paint (vandalism?) but in this case I still get a lot of reflection from the wall texture while still having it feel velvety (not chalky) which is what I wanted.  Mission accomplished.

The opposite side of the room from the entrance is entirely closet space which seems like a great idea until you try to actually use them.  Fun fact: when I moved in the back of each door and the wall in between was covered in mirrors and a light installed above them to make a sort of threeway mirror "dressing room" when you open the doors.  

I can't decide if that's totally fucking weird or totally fucking smart...

Does a boring nun live here?
This room was also covered in a dirty beige paint color (in part due to nicotine stains) and a country blue duck wallpaper border that took weeks to clean off thanks to the avocado skin wall texture.  I also removed an ugly ceiling fan sticky with cigarette filth.  Unfortunately, the ceiling fan was actually holding up the ceiling and the heavy plaster began to sag and slowly collapse.  I held it up with a ladder and stacks of magazines while I lived in the guest room. 

Eventually I was able to have one of them fancy sheetrock ceilings put in so I wouldn't die from a plaster avalanche.  Ah, the joys of home improvement.


Castle print courtesy of an antique store and a vintage science illustration in a Ribba frame all from my large treasure closet (horde) of goodies.

Ignore the white streak, it's a bitch and a half to remove.
The hamper is a vintage African woven basket I got at a local antique mall for about $50.  A sound investment, I say.  Curtains are IKEA's Vivan sheers and the grey side panels are Aina.  I cannot say how grateful I feel that IKEA now has white curtain rods AND curtain hooks that work in all of their curtains.   Really classin' the joint up.  I'm not really a big fan of puddling curtains but I'm even less a fan of hemming ten panels so here we are.

Fortunately I have an entire wall of windows opposite my bed.  Even better is that I have a low roof over my patio and a privacy fence beyond that because I never close the sheers when I change.  If my neighbors see anything it's their own fault that they will have to deal with in their own nightmares.  

But I do have a nice patio view which I try to not enjoy while topless.  Too often...


Charlemagne loves to hang out in the herb garden.

Back inside it's less colorful but still just as much IKEA.  I'm soooo glad I went with the two side-by-side 4 drawer Malms.  I use every single one of the drawers and the height is perfect.   


I had dreams of making wooden handles through a local craftsmen because I do rather hate the ergonomics of pulling out these drawers but kinda ran out of money and inclination.  Sometimes when you try to class up IKEA too much it's like putting lipstick on a Swedish pig.  

Maybe small leather pulls?  I'll probably get around to doing that when I hem the curtains... 


Hey remember when I tried to get a vintage lamp fixed but could never get to the lighting store because they kept Christian hours?  Well that still is true.  I found this navy one at a discount store cuz I thought it would coordinate and balance the dark green wall.  I then took it to Target to get a shade only to realize it was actually a Target lamp.  Which I apparently got for about $7 cheaper at the discount store.  Obviously my bargain hunting skills are unprecedented.


The mirror came from my mom's basement and included some angel stickers I had to scrape off.  Guess that means I'm no longer blessed when I look in the mirror.  EXCEPT BY MY OWN STUNNING VISAGE.

The horns I found at an estate sale for cheap.  Those are always the best places for weird shit because the usual demographic steers clear of dead things.  I always get a few "ew" remarks when I'm in line.  Well, look at them now, judgey grandmas!  It's great to stand at the mirror and feel like you're playing a game of chicken with a dead animal.

Besides, the horns are slightly lopsided in the exact way my boobs are so it was meant to be.  A friendly reminder from Jeebus every morning that I'm special (or that my deformed corpse might be hung on someone's wall over cheap furniture when I'm dead?).


Um... here is a collection of things.  That's about it.  Trying to not clutter up my dresser top too much because I'm a clutter lover by nature. 



This succulent is an Ox Tongue - a low light plant that's lasted six months so far so I'd say it's a survivor.


Over here we have a Jade snake plant and a pothos variety called N' joy (I think).  Fun fact: that's also the name of a line of sex toys which called for much smirking when I bought it from the hippies at the market.   Both also going strong.  The plants not the sex toys.

I tried a Calathea but it didn't fare so well.  RIP, little jungle guy.  You were loved for your brief stay here at the Ranch.

The big white rectangle is actually, well, it IS a big white rectangle but it's really there as a 'study of texture.'  *makes gagging noise at myself*


It was actually a shirt that I accidentally ripped open one day while trying to walk through my front door (I swear I wasn't drunk).  I really liked the fat embroidery so I cut out the center medallion and added some decorative trim at the top and bottom from the sleeves and taped it all together with duct tape.  Why am I not a Pinterest superstar?

As "art" it's about as interesting as a bowl of milky rice covered in zzzzzzz but it fills the space without distracting me from staring at my own GLORIOUS VISAGE when I'm looking in the mirror playing chicken with the horn god.


My fave necklace needed a special place for display and easy access.  


Overall I'm fairly pleased with how the room feels right now.  It ain't winning any awards but it's surprisingly close to my mood board.  Most importantly it's very peaceful and quiet which is what I wanted most.  It's not 100% where I'd like it - maybe a new lamp, more emerald and green accents, different art, FUR EVERYWHERE - but everything is always in progress and those things can happen organically later.  

Sometimes I just get tired of spending money on a project and want to move on.  Besides, Christmas is practically tomorrow and I have ten jizzillion other projects to tackle.

And by tackle I mean 'glitter.'  


I... made some collages of details.  Can't decide if that's narcissistic or just being a Virgo.  Besides, it never hurts to give Mr. Moroccan pillow some additional time in the spotlight.  Nightstand is BM's Collinwood if you remember.


Really I just wanted my little piece of amethyst to get some special time in the light.


Mostly-dead air plant did NOT get his time in the spotlight for obvious, mostly-dead reasons.

And although keeping a simple room means I tend to keep it cleaner, my nightstand does look like this fairly often:


Just keeping it real with y'all.

And I'm not exactly sure about the overall cost of everything but I think the total was about $800.  That seems like a lot of money considering what we just looked at but it includes all the paint for the walls and nightstand, two dressers and glass top, all new curtains and hardware, the rug, two lamps, a bedskirt, two new shams and bed pillows (it was time), the hamper and the DIY headboard.  Everything else I already had or was repurposed from things I already had.

Actually now that I list it all that seems like a lot for a little, yes?  

Just imagine what I could have done with A THOUSAND DOLLARS!  

Stay tuned in 2017 when I finally get my hallway painted the same shade of carnivorous green!  Just in time to change my bedroom color...

Sweet dreams.