Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I heart Design with a capital 'D'

In case you haven't seen this lastest bit of genius around the interwebs or you don't follow my every tweet (it's probably better that way), I'm obsessed with the new typeface Dyslexie.  It's a typeface for people who have Dyslexia designed by a dyslexic person.  It looks like this:
Sample text from Fast Company.  Go there to see non-shitty screencap.
Ever since I ran across this project all of my thoughts have been completely occupied with its awesomeness.  Well, most of my thoughts.  I took my first Pure Barre class that night so there was a period of time of time where I completely abandoned all rational thought and relied purely on my dumb reptilian brain just to be able to finish my set of pelvic tucks while in a deep, torturous plie.  That shit is hard.  I had to awaken the beast within.  She was cranky and sweaty and severely out of shape.  

I survived - somehow - but the majority of my thoughts over the last several days other than "ass = HURT" and "what muscle do I have in my armpit because it HURTS there?" have been about this typeface.

It's so simply genius that it takes away my armpit hurt.  I'm a bit surprised (and a little saddened) that it hasn't already been addressed before.  The reading problem not the armpit pain.

For me, Design is about problem solving but sometimes it's easy to get distracted with the less significant problems.  Deciding whether to paint my living room light champagne truffle or medium champagne truffle is a "problem" that has a design solution as soon as the right color magically reveals itself to me.  This is really a problem of privilege.  

The designer, Christian Boer, said he spent four hours working on a comma and over twelve hours on the letter 'a.'   THAT is problem solving!  That gets me so fired up I feel like Design can save the world now!  RAWWWRR!!!

Check out these diagrams from the creator's website that are problem-solving at its sexiest.

An angled tail keeps letters from being rotated/flipped as often.
Tell me more!

Sticks of some letters are longer so they won't be as easily exchanged.
I spit on you, stupid Arial.

Making letters higher, not wider, gives them more space therefore easier to recognize.
That's just good manners.

More space for each letter and word.
Don't crowd me!

Perhaps dyslexia falls on a spectrum of similar disorders because I stumbled across a real world review where the reader isn't dyslexic but identifies as a slow reader.  After reading text in Dyslexie they said "reading wasn't like walking against a headwind."   What a fantastic observation.  There are plenty of other similar comments in the notes which makes me exceedingly happy.  It is easy to forget that effortless reading - something I take completely for granted - is something that is also a privilege.  The ultimate privilege is ignorance it seems.

Personally I am a fast reader but sometimes I sacrifice comprehension for speed.  Nerd alert: a few years on the debate team in high school made this worse no doubt.  Dislexie is actually slow for me to read - somewhat obnoxiously so - but because I'm forced to slow down I feel like I retain more.    I don't think I would want to read it all the time but wouldn't it be nice to be able to change your computer/ereader settings to a default of your choice?!  Seems like it would open up the world to someone with reading difficulties.  At the very least ease a burden.

Sigh... This whole project makes me want to dance and twirl for how much I love Design.  Too bad I can't move because it hurts too much.

I can't wait for the point when Pure Barre isn't like walking against a headwind (made of pure evil) but somehow I think that's the purpose.  Dammit.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

All I have is a ceramic cat, a lot of costume jewelry and time.

After last week's call for color and pattern I realized I have no idea how to actually incorporate a lion-killing warrior princess vibe into a room.  Some things are better left on the internet.  But then I found this apartment and figured I could settle for a little addition of color and some subtle - *gulp* - uh... "tribal" influences.  Don't worry - I just punched my left lady ball for that.  But still, look!
Well, helloooo blanket.  I don't care if there is a touch of Honeysuckit pank in there I still squeed a bit when I saw this room.   And I'm not sure why that stool is just floating in the middle of the damn floor...?  Stylist fail or is this actually a bedroom-slash-obstacle course?  I did NOT sign up for the new series Design Star Internet Celebrity Amazing Race, y'all!  I just want to lay in that bed and have beautifully serene (and hopefully filthy) dreams!  I'll probably have serene (and hopefully filthy dreams) about this bedroom tonight because I would punch my right lady ball to live there.  The right one is obviously the extra sensitive one in this fake lady ball scenario.

Ok maybe I can avoid violence and just make the Ranch look like this.  It's not mind-blowingly fuckawesome interior design of the century but it seems attainable to me and that's what we like around here - the Sunday side of life.  This place is 600 square feet and my house is more than three times the size of it so that means like 5 times the fabulosity!  Math is not my strong point.  Neither is Amazing Race Design Star challenges.  I already have white painted brick and somewhere I have black floor tile!  I know I can find a stool like that at a thrift store around here...  Books and magazines to excess?  CHECK.  Omigawd I think I already live here.  Or at least in this place's ugly inbred cousin house.

Ok so I think this just turned into the black, white and brown places I was just complaining about...  But I still like it and would still punch somebody somewhere to live here.  Kuba cloth pillows make it jazzy though, right?!  Or is it Wisteria from two years ago?  I don't care, it's still about five years ahead of my house.

Flowers and wine?  DONE.

Here's the super cute owner/designer with her jazzy haircut doing exciting designy things (as evidenced by the tilted photo) or whatever it is she's doing (reading this blog?!) while barefoot.  Jealous.  Oh wait - that IS what I do.  And I do it barefoot too.  We're like soul sisters.  I dig the stainless steel desk-slash-kitchen table-slash-autopsy table combo unit and I'm pretending to avoid the white, black and grey color scheme for the sake of this discussion...

Welcome back blanket!! I guess when your apartment is only 600 square feet having only one colorful piece really goes a long way.  I'm also liking the rest of the bedroom area even though it's very grey...  I think the glass inserts in the doors are smart as hell for this space.  

I have a table that's pretty similar to that console too.  Hhhmmm.... this apartment is becoming increasingly attainable!  Three cheers for the cable cord that's just laying on the floor too.  THIS IS REAL WORLD Y'ALL!  I'm in lesbian love with this lady.  She can tie me up with the cable cord, I don't care.

Aw hell.  Ok the patio kicks my patio's ass.  Maybe I have a long way to go for attainable.  However, if this were the ModSauce Ranch's fantasy patio I would probably toss one or twelve pillows covered in wax prints fabrics on that custom couch thing but maybe that's just me.  I might also add some chili pepper string lights for a bit of sophisticated fun.

Ok you can put the feet away now.
Look how staged yet still classy this is.  Just a fun lady enjoying some wine and a shelter magazine and THIS IS TOTALLY ME.  I think this entire place is simple, accessible and more importantly *I* could duplicate this look and live happily ever after.

Until I remember that I usually prefer to be surrounded by a bit more idiocy as evidenced by the spontaneous mini Design and Styling challenge that happened at the Ranch again this weekend.  You can't stop it - it's a movement.  There was a party and I may or may not have crafted bedazzled sweatbands for some of the guests...

click to enlarge for maximum goodness
After knocking back a couple of beers in fancy Cupboards koozies, the kitteh decided to join in the fun and modeled one of my creations.  Based on the success of these feathered and rhinestoned headbands I think I will be able to start a new business that the drunks at the party named Headcase.  I can't lose!!  I'll be able to get a sassy haircut, practice fake lesbian bondage and be surrounded by coolness all day!

Maybe one day I'll even be able to afford my own jazzy colorful blanket or ANY kind of furniture for my patio.  

Any at all.  

I'm not even picky.  

Just something.  

In the meantime all I have is a ceramic cat, a lot of costume jewelry and time.

*If you happened to receive this post in email but a half-assed version of it, I apologize.  My fingers might have been cursed by a group of bumbling witches and hit 'publish' on accident before I was done squeeing about things.  My apologies but at least my face isn't rotting off so it could have been worse.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When JLo said we're going to Afri-cah I took her seriously.

I don't know about y'all but I'm about tapped out on my ability to look at another austere black, white and brown Scandinavian-esque interior. Not that my freshly finished kitchen might be in that same family or what my living room is probably going to look like when I'm done painting it but whatever...  

via Our Afria but I wish I knew where this originally came from
Yep.  Kinda how I feel.  BRING ME SOME COLOR AND PATTERN!!!!  Preferably lots of it.  At the same time.  If it's African, even better.  Seriously, I'm addicted to Africa right now.

At the risk of reducing an entire spectrum of cultures into pretty shapes, colors and patterns um well... that's kinda the part I'm addicted to.  This also happened during my Cross Colours phase back in 1991 but I was only eleven and didn't actually wear any of it but I really only watched BET back then so you can't really blame me.  You can laugh at this because even though I'm like Stephen Colbert in that I don't see color, I can say with all confidence that I'm the whitest person imaginable.  I say that not just because I look like a cheerleader made a baby with a snowman that turned out to be the giant Stay Puft marshmallow man from the end of Ghostbusters (except with more glitter, of course), but also because I'm "White" in the sense that the majority of Stuff White People Like is most likely a transcript of my life.  I think this post is actually #127 on the list.

Wodaabe boy from Niger. Photography by Steve McCurry from here

You can never have enough bangles no matter what continent you live on.

photography by Seydou Keita via Fly


Earrings show this Masai woman is married. here

You think friendship bracelets are hot right now?  Try showing up at the coffee house with a cuff like this.  Dare I even say that Africa is trendy?  It makes me cringe when marketers or retailers describe things as "tribal" or gawd-forbid "ethnic" so whatever this post is, its intent is not that.  I'm just desperate for something to look at with personality!  (I just made myself cringe by using a reductionist word like "personality" but there really isn't a way that I come out the other side of this not looking like an asshole.  So let's just carry on.)

Billy Kidd has this stunning series of portraits of Samburu warriors in NYC.  These two pictures are of Lesiit.  He's killed two lions so says the caption.  Purchasing prints helps the Thorn Tree Project which provides funding for education to regions of Northern Kenya.  See?  It's not all about shapes and colors!

Samburu woman ready to be married. Photography by Eric Lafforgue 


via Cool Hunting
Hair salons photographed by Simon Weller for the book South African Township Barbershops and Salons.


The Hyena Men - street performers - of Lagos, Nigeria photographed by Pieter Hugo.  I almost shat my pants when I realized that's what size hyenas really are.  That's what I get for getting my basic life skills from The Lion King.  Next you're going to tell me honey badgers DO give a shit!  [MS sidebar: apparently Beyonce wasn't scared because I'm pretty sure she appropriated some hyena wrangling for her "Run the World" video. {In an Inception-style sidebar within a sidebar: I almost shat my pants a second time when I just recently saw the original video for the track Beyonce sampled for her song.  The fuck??  After the donkey punch, it really ruined whatever grrl power anthem B was aiming for in using that sample... }]

Back to things that make me happy:


Shilluk woman, Sudan - from here


pinterest via kira-cph

Oroma Elewa in Vogue via Fly
Who needs a shirt when you have so many BANGLES??!!!!!!

Fabricadabra via jubella 
We have reached maximum saturation on Ikats and Suzanis and I'm desperate for patterns that haven't been bastardized with butterflies and pastels.  Enter wax prints!!  One wax print pillow is for pussies, though.  You have to commit because they look better in groups.  Pattern on pattern on pattern.
Ok unless you're the type of person who can do a headwrap and then you just do one because that's hawt.  I can't do this and make it look good in any way possible so if you can please go for it.
compilation from here
Fair trade textiles, jewelry and crafts from Ananse Village.


via Fly

Colorful Rambunction from Stephanie C. Mathews

bags made my women in Ghana for Della via Modish
What about a bag?  Could I do a bag without looking like an asshole?  Probably not...

Kimberly Sumner via Time Out New York
This is how cool people in New York dress and where my obsession with pattern will be in a few months when I've then reached my threshold of outrageous colors and bold patterns.  But somehow when I mix patterns - even in neutrals - I look like a homeless hipster cat lady and not fun and eccentric.  Being a marshmallow offspring sometimes has its disadvantages and I'm not even talking about campfire season.

Iyadede via Fly
She says "wheeee" for color and pattern too.  

My eyes feel positively reborn after looking at all this.  Emmas designblog who?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

An open letter to Benjamin Moore: Thanks for making me fat and cranky!

Dear Benny,

Can I call you Benny?  Cool, thanks.  You may not know it but we have quite a relationship.  I knew you were a man whore when I got into this (and to be frank, I've certainly had others as well...) so it's okay with me if you don't remember me and this relationship stays decidedly one-sided.  It's simpler this way.  

Just to let you know, some of our past highlights took place in my bedroom:
This is Wedgewood Grey.  My cat Charlemagne and the ghost of the former owner of my house helped pick out this color.  True story.

And then there's my guest room for hobos and drifters:
Ok, this is an old picture... I swear I have sheets (not that the hobos mind) and the pillows are long gone.  But there is a nice buttah color in the background that I've forgotten the name of...

You even made an appearance in the KITCHEN OF THE MILLENNIUM in Soft Chamois:
Mmmhhhh.... soft and chammy.  

In addition to making my rooms sparkle, I like that you sell at Ace Hardware because that's my preferred store of choice for homey things.  They've seen me so many times on a Sunday morning in my pajamas buying chemical gloves, steel wool, paint brushes, those tiny cans of Pringles you sometimes have at the counter, a shit ton of Holiday decoration and on and on and on...  I have to drive clear across town to get to a big box store and I feel like I have to "put on" and where "real pants" when I go in there.  Judgey assholes.   

You can see I'm a fan, Benny.  I was especially excited when I saw your trend book last year and noticed that we both love the work of Kate MacDowell.
I don't actually know what's in this book because it's $75 billion dollars...
I feel like after all of the good times we've had together I've earned the right to be honest with you.  My living/dining room is currently the color I like to call 'Zombie Pit Stain' green and needs an update before it starts to eat my brains.  Therefore, I'm beginning the process of picking a new paint color and if you don't know what that process looks like let me show you:
No the flowers aren't for you, they're for me.
It's like a color bomb went off on my coffee table.  Painting is fun but you make choosing a color (something I squee hard for) a fucking nightmare that is in no way related to my inability to make a quick and definite decision.  

You have custom pints I can buy for like $27 each and I go through on average about eleventeen of those each room so that's not really an economical option.  I could buy the tiny pre-made samples which are cheaper but you only have about 7 colors and I think we've JUST discussed how I need dozens of options to pick from.  Needless to say I squeed my panties when I found out you had giant super swatches but cried like I was on an episode of Celebrity Rehab when I realized there were only about 30 colors offered.  WTF??

My color picking process is this: I buy some tiny pre-made samples, whatever the closest giant swatch is and use those in conjunction with whatever custom pints I have at home (from you, Benny, or even someone else I have laying around the house) and then use ancient astronomy methods to triangulate the closest color I think I will need.  I'm looking for something less Herpes peach than Manchester Tan but not quite as heartless as November Rain... 

I won't cut up my fandecks so once I have a better idea of where I'm going, I STILL go and grab the paper swatches from Ace and cut them up into giant confetti-like squares and reorganize them to fit on the nautical chart I just made.  What's the GPS coordinate of the most awesome color imaginable for my living room?  It's either Silver Satin or in the Bermuda Triangle of the rainbow...  Or maybe Balboa Mist is what I need but it might be even more filthy whore than November Rain...???  FUCKING HELP ME!!!  

I have to narrow it down to my top 2-3 guesses from the paper swatches before I go spend a jizzillion dollars on your custom pints again.  Then I just go home and make my own super swatches on scrap pieces of cardboard laying around the house.  Ooops, looks like Balboa Mist WAS indeed too whorey.  Now I have to add my failures findings to the color map and triangulate the newest position on the rainbow yet again.  Shit, I could find the Red October before I could find a paint color I like.

The pressure is so intense I usually resort to shame eating to soothe my nerves.  Thanks a lot, Benny.  I still don't have a color picked out AND I can't even wear my real pants anymore because they don't fit!  Yet another win for Ace and my leggings, though.

NOBODY tests out purple and teal, Benny.  WTF?
You know, all this sounds batshit crazy even to me and I have a pretty high tolerance for neurotic.  You need to get on this IMMEDIATELY!  The super swatch is seriously the way to go.  I understand that you offer your most popular shades in the store but you can't even offer the rest on the internet to purchase?  SURELY this is less expensive than all the dumb little tiny samples on that ancient rack in the store.  I know no one buys them but me because they always have that dried pudding skim on top when I open them letting me know they've been there for years.  YEARS.  I will gladly pay for the super swatches and then keep them filed neatly in my color library.  Less mess AND they could fit in a 3-ring binder.  Hell, I'll loan them out to friends!  This saves you money, packaging and makes my life infinitely easier.  And thinner.

People will tell me to go to Sherwin Williams or Farrow & Ball but I think we both know that the SW range of colors is boring as hell and I'll just use the fandeck from F&B and have you match the color because there's no way I'm paying for their paint.  I probably won't even pay for their fandeck either and just try to steal it from a designer.  OR if you're gonna be a bitch about it I'll take that F&B color and have SW match it because their paint containers have that little handle on them and that totally trumps your stupid can.  I bet they have big swatches I can order from the internet too...  Your move.

Now, you need to start making some super swatches and I have to go clean off my coffee table and put up all of those tiny swatches and samples and tiny cans and confetti collages and home-crafted super swatches into the storage room I've devoted to paint.  It's next to the hobo guest room.

Yours in fabulosity,

Madame Sunday

(Update post script: so it looks like you might (?) be able to order swatches even though they don't tell homeowners about it on their website, a google search reveals nothing and my Ace told me no such thing existed.  So either way it's a website fail and - sadly- an Ace Hardware fail.  Rant still partially applicable. I still might steal a F&B fandeck...)

(Update post POST script: so I feel like a criminal but I set up a fake company name - although I do have ModernSauce business cards so I guess it's not that much of a stretch - and gave my order a fake project name and ordered samples.  That were FREE!  I feel a bit guilty but this is what you drove me to do, Benny!  A life of psuedo-crime.  For paint swatches.)