Thursday, June 28, 2012

Spreading some internet love today.

It's been a pretty rough week around the Ranch because MY FACE FUCKING MELTED OFF on Tuesday and my front yard looks like the surface of Mars.  I can't even get my house boy to rub my feet with chilled lotion because while trying to install an outdoor drinking fountain for Charlemagne he had a mild heat stroke like a punk-ass sissy bitch.  

Christ, it's hard to find good help on Craigslist these days.

So now I have no face, hot dry feet and Charlemagne is having to drink water from a bowl like a gawddamned ANIMAL!  Worst summer ever.

But it's not all bad!  This week my cabinet guru/kitchen therapist-turned-real life friend of amazing awesomeness, Nick of Cupboards, was interviewed on KBB Online - the magazine for the kitchen and bath industry.  Not only is that exciting for a deserving person, but your favorite online fake Madame also got a special sweet spot:
Aww...  we're famous.  Now I'm going to go hyperventilate into a paper bag now just like they do in movies even though I've never seen anyone do in real life.  Where does one even find paper bags??

My kitchen really has nothing to do with the interview except to show that Nick and I actually met through Twitter and remodeled my kitchen before ever even meeting in person.  So yes, social media IS good for business and the interview is a fun read to see what real business owners are doing and (not doing) with social media. 

I usually use social media for sharing status updates about my vagina and pictures of margaritas I'm drinking but it turns out some people use it for "important" things related to their earning money and financial security whatever that means.  

But I'm kinda hijacking this feature to use as foreshadowing for some upcoming posts I'm planning about last year's kitchen remodel: the one year anniversary follow-up extravaganza!!  I'm thinking about it for two reasons:

1.  I love a follow-up episode on tv.  So if you're like me and maybe you want to know if someone is glad they got to meet Candy Finnigan or whether or not they liked the wood countertops they bought, these posts might interest you.  For everyone else they're probably going to be pretty boring.  They'll probably be boring even if you are interested...

2.  For purely selfish reasons, I'm really trying to unleash the beast of my camera and get some better photos of my space (more and better than what's pictured above).  Last year I had to take pictures when I wasn't emotionally prepared and then I had technical difficulties that I tried to "fix" in Photoshop so the big reveal day and my most viewed post ever(!) looked really shitty.  Way to crack under pressure, Madame!  I'm all for mediocrity but that was ridiculous.  

2B.  Totally unrelated to my ineptitude, Blogger is fucking with some of my pictures making them grainy and blurry - you can see it especially in the photos from my patio - and I think that has something to do with things always looking shitty around this here blog.  If anyone else has had this problem please holler because I will not humiliate myself TWICE.  My feet are still hot and dry and can't stand any more nightmares this summer!

Did you like how I turned a post that was supposed to highlight the accomplishments of someone else into a whiny Madamefest?  I'm such a giver.

So don't be a selfish, faceless bitch like me.  Make sure you are friendly with Nick at Cupboards (@Cupboards) and KBB Online (@kbbconnect).

Seriously though, someone needs to help me with my photog skillz and foot rubbing...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Secrets to my blogging non-success: Pinterest, gays and animal genitalia!

This weekend proved to be a very informative one: while cleaning out my closet I learned I really don't look as good in empire waist tops as I think I do.

I learned it's possible to give yourself temporary lactose intolerance (that's soooo worth it) after making a mac and cheese with sausage, goat cheese and eleventeen other types of cheese.  

After a few cocktails with some homosensual hippie types, I learned that Tennessee is home to Short Mountain Sanctuary which is a commune/home base for the Radical Faeries - a collective of pagan-esque gay men from around the world.  Ahh Appalachia, the secrets you keep...

And most importantly I learned that not only do I have a Bachelor's of Scienze in Home Ekonomics, I am also an investigative journalist!  For instance, just this week I had to get out my secret design blogger decoder ring to find the source of this bedroom that I saw all over Pinterest:
And by 'all over Pinterest' I mean 'all over my bedroom' because I found one pin and then printed a thousand copies out, taped them to my bed pillow and then dry-humped the shit out of them.  It's so dreamy like a really sterile hotel in fog.  But something about the decorgasm felt familiar and upon closer inspection of the now-destroyed paper I realized it was THIS room: 
SCHWING!  It's Francisco Costa's bedroom and an old favorite of mine.  Ahhh... memories.  I included it my round-up about horse art a few years ago because I used to have the time to do round-ups like that.  It's a post I'm proud of because I think I only had ONE horse cock joke in it.  Wait... I should reread to be sure...

I'm not sure why I like this room so much since without even knowing whose room it is you can tell that the queen living here gets vegan colonics, has a platinum (horse?) cock ring and isn't satisfied until the hospital corners on his bed linens are sharper than Angelina Jolie's Malificent cheekbones.

That's pretty much the opposite of everything I believe in: I get bacon colonics, [redacted for propriety] and I haven't made my bed in 17 years.

Maybe I only like this room because I get to make so many cock jokes about it...

The photography (ok, possibly the real reason I like the room) is by Australian artist and photog Martyn Thompson.  He has a book out about his interior photography called... wait for it... Martyn Thompson - Interiors

It looks like lifestyle shots of people who can afford to buy small islands but instead choose to live simple, monastic lives in beautiful places like this: 

 ...and then fuck them up with bullshit like this:
John Derian's house from, like, forever ago.

And this:
pics from Desire to Inspire
Fuck every piece of wayward furniture in this room and the platinum cock ring-ed horse it rode in on.  This is what it looks like when rich people masturbate and ejaculate money all over their house and call it decorating.  One Papa Bear chair is great but two is disgusting.  You just bukkakked all over your gorgeous house and in front of that deliriously awesome window.  (MS confession: I had to google the spelling for bukkake before I verbed it.  Do not attempt.)

How many filthy dick jokes can I squeeze into this post?  I'm going for an even baker's dozen.  

But I forgive Martyn for his photography clients because he still photographed one of my blogger favorite bedrooms.  He also has a nice, albeit sparse, tumblr with a bit more of his photographs and where I found this interview from Australian Vogue Living:

More fun things I learned: he makes his own clothes, appreciates Vivienne Westwood (like me and any person with eyes!) and is a Radical Faerie that twice a year visits Short Mountain Sanctuary in Tennessee to sleep in a tent and tap into his homospirit.  

Well, I'll be damned.  That's a very weird and completely pointless coincidence involving useless facts about Tennessee.

The only point to that story is that maybe now you can see how a blog post actually develops in my brain:  cocktails > gay story time > bed time lullabies bed via Pinterest > squeeing > investigative journalism and internet adventures > dreamy interiors and horse cock > more dreamy interiors > bitter ramblings by a lower middle class hack Madame >  inappropriate dick jokes > the rabbit hole of tumblr > gay hippies in Tennessee.

I just wanted to show you a pretty bedroom and then all hell broke loose!  That's essentially the formula for almost every single blog post I've ever written.  It's the Universal Formula for my internet success that fortunately consists of only 10% animal genitalia.

Problogger might want to take note.

Now, I'll probably want to blog later this week so I'm going to pour some gay hippies a few cocktails and see what happens...

PS. Martyn I have some friends you should meet.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Sunday Set. With a rogue alien ship...

I don't know about y'all but I'm Ranched out!  Which is really shitty because I actually live here which makes this really even more depressing and surreal.  So let's do what we come to the internet for - lust after houses that you DON'T live in. 

So behold!  Here's an image dump of things from Pinterest this week that I thought were pretty!



If that Ranch looked like this I'd probably blog about it every damn day and never get tired of it.










This is totally me standing at the fake door of the Ranch wishing you a saucy weekend.

Or looking for an alien ship...

*whispers*... the TARDIS...

Monday, June 18, 2012

I squee for sedums.

The previous owners of my house, though they loved filth and porn, really hated nature.  They destroyed a large majority of my back yard because fuck it, we hate grass so let's pave it and then put astroturf over it all!  Sounds reasonable.

So 85% of my back yard is asphalt or patio.  It's not a concrete jungle it's a concrete river.  Of ugly.  So when I decided to jazz up ye olde ModSauce patio I really wanted to include some planters of green things to make it seem somewhat hospitable for human habitation. 

This is problematic because I want my patio to have a container garden that looks like this:
But I have the money and gardening skillz to make it look like this:

Stolen from this lovely family's vacation photos.
I needed help.  I needed a black thumb intervention.  

Fortunately my friend and local blogger Dava Stewart of Smiling Tree Writing hooked me up with a local plant lady of extreme knowledge and compassionate expertise: Belle of Green Thumbs Galore.

Fun fact: she's about a mile from the MS Ranch.  It was destiny!

I emailed her my about project, my skill level and added a desperate plea for help and we set up a black thumb intervention date at her nursery.  Which is this:
Quick and dirty iPhone photos so deal.
Also known as her backyard.  That also looks like this:

And this:

With a little of this:
Just like your backyard, I'm sure.  Greenhouse and all.

How bout some of this? 
Sure, just rub it in!

Most of her business is through their website which is interesting because I didn't really know you could mail plants.  I assumed they were all sensitive delicate creatures of infinite suffering based on my personal experiences with them.  

So I asked her how in the hell you actually mail plants.  She said, "In a box."


Well-played, Belle.  Let's be best friends. I'm already learning so much.  

I knew I wanted something succulenty (already learning proper gardening terminology) and sculptural because I AM a design blogger of course.  I didn't know how to explain that to her but I didn't even need to because she had this in her nursery: 
and is super plant smart. She's the plant whisperer.  Or maybe she's the green-challenged idiot whisperer...  For her sake, let's go with the first one.

I know a very small bit about putting together color and textures (see part above about being a fancy design blogger) but not really when it comes to things that are alive.  She helped show me how plants work together and explained to me about making a group that has something tall, something spreading and something trailing.  

Or was it something tumbling and something stumbling?  Or was I supposed to have a shower and a grower...?  Let's go with the first one. 

I should have taken better notes.

But she put together some really beautiful things for me that were exactly what I wanted even though I didn't know that I wanted them.
*FIST PUMP*  Since I'm nurture-challenged we started with a small selection to see what I do well with and I can always divide them later. If they survive...  Dun dun duuunnnnn!!

So I played around at home and put these guys together:
Yay!  I made plant things!  Now those pillows aren't mocking me with their fake flora.

Hey is that a LANTERN?!
The planters were a smattering of TJ Maxx and junk store finds.  Who DOESN'T need brass on their patio, amiright???!!  The black hexagon is actually the metal base for a tea dispenser that I drilled some holes in for drainage.  It's called upcycling, y'all.  Southern saucy style.

So far everything is alive and well!  Except for the moss in the top center.  When I went to my mountain lovefest vacation, it threw in the towel.  Farewell, friend.  We barely knew ye.

These dudes seem happy.  Waiting on that tiny sedum to hit puberty (after I gave it a rough childhood) but I'm patient.

Purple dude is appreciative of brass and I am appreciative of him.  

This is my favorite planter and not only because it dispensed sweet tea in its former life.  All the plants - um... coral bells, a little hen and chicks action and some bright green sedum thing that had yellow flowers (?) - are all super chummy and not dead and that makes me squee long time.

Obviously you should contact Green Thumbs Galore if you need information because I have no idea what the name of these things are.  After you find out you should tell me.

Pardon my gratuitous planter porn but I'm so proud these things have survived - nay, THRIVED - this long.  

On the opposite side of the furniture I have another grouping to further titillate your green senses:
Ok it's a little weird-looking right here, I'll give you that.  The empty brass planter was an ice chest during the patio partio and I just haven't moved it.  All the brass came as a set so whatareyagonnado.  I swear no more brass though.

But look at the plants!
We've got a nice fern that will grow big and ferny and is sharing a brassy apartment with those bright green things again.  A bit more moss but like its cousin across the patio, it didn't like my 'live and let die' plant philosophy.

Probably should have planted that hen and her chicks elsewhere.  Tight squeeze.

Look!  Another brass planter AND A LANTERN!  Yay for hens and chicks because I know what those are now!

Overall I'm very happy with my maiden voyage into container land because this shit is hard for me, y'all!  Most everything is doing well and I've learned a lot about what I'm good at (inspiring other people to want to help me) and what I'm not good at (moss).  From here things can only go up!  Literally, I need some taller things come next year.  I definitely need a grower.

Now we just have to hope that hope everything survives the hell that is our August but I'm also hoping I survive it too.  I get really cranky and I'm pretty sure plants don't respond well to verbal abuse.

Regardless of my future foul mouth, thank you to Green Thumbs Galore for their generous spirit and expertise.  They may have turned my black thumb into a slightly less black thumb.  I swear I saw hints of olive green yesterday as I was watering BUT NOT OVERWATERING!  *eyebrow wiggle*  

Should anyone have plant needs, I know they would be happy to help any other fellow members of the black thumb brigade or even normal green thumb people no matter what zone you live in.  (I live in the party zone if you were wondering).

You can even get plants mailed straight to you.  

In a box.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Now enrolling students in my Scienze of Home Economics class...

I think my universally-recognized contribution to the blogging community is in the area of science.  Whether it's finding the atomic weight of Sauceonium or measuring the strong force of cheese, I'm always working to find solutions for all your domestic dilemmas to make your life easier.  I have a Doctorate of Scienze in Home Economics.  

Just recently I had some breakthroughs that I thought you might be interested in.  Like these green onions in my windowsill from NOTHING!  IT'S MAGICK SCIENZE!
It's ALIVE!  So abundant they can't even remain upright.
Grown from nothing except the leftover nubbin roots of green onions I bought from the store.  

Thanks to the invaluable research team of People In Need of Total...   Pies of Infamy... P.I.N.T.E.R.E.S.T.  for short,  they alerted me to this research courtesy of Homemade Serenity.  After all my personal experiments I can conclude that this works!  

After you've cut the roots off from whatever you've bought at the store, just dump them in a glass of water and they'll regenerate.  I mean, grow back.  (Sorry.  Who on the brain.)  You have to change the water and rinse the roots every couple of days but it's so worth it.  I'm lazy and I can even manage it.

Now green onions forever!  Well... for a few months until you need to replace the roots entirely.  Still, it's magick AND saves you money!  Madame Scienze: 1.  Grocery stores: 0

Now let's take this discovery train outside!  I don't know about where y'all live but around here we are being overrun by bugs this year because of our mild winter.  Mosquitos, mites, spiders and a shit ton of other disgusting things are all up in my business and it makes me cranky.

I'm specifically having a problem with these things:
They're called boxelder bugs and they are under the impression that they can live in my flower beds.  Like ladybugs they are completely harmless, but I still don't want an infestation to happen if they move indoors.  Kinda like ladybugs.  If you squash them they leave a smell that will attract even more boxelder bugs.  Kinda like ladybugs.

After much exhaustive research (googling) on my part I discovered that the best way to kill them is with a squirt bottle filled with water and a few drops of dish soap.  HOORAY!  One squirt and they die in just a few seconds and all is right with the world again.  

I feel a little bad killing them especially when they're having their sexy times and their asses are stuck together but I don't want their thousands of babies in my bedroom.  Survival of the fittest, not soapiest.

Fun fact: while crouched low taking care of boxelder business with my spray bottle this weekend, a different shade of black and red movement caught my eye.  Turns out it was THIS:

I'd never seen a black widow in real life before but even from three feet away amongst a migration of black and red boxelders it was unmistakable.  Boxelders run away from the stream of soap water but this spider actually ran up the web towards me like 'What the fuck is going on out here?  I WILL FUCK YOU UP, LADY!  Water is NOTHING to me.  NOOOTHIINGGG."  Aggressive little fuckers.  

I think soap water probably makes them into Hulk Widows so I had to use the real bug spray.  Near my basil plant, gawddamit.  So no pesto at the Ranch for a while until I can be sure that all the pesticide was absorbed into the ground then into the groundwater and washed away from my plant.  That should take about four weeks.  I know because I'm a Doctor Madame of Scienze.

So if you're wondering why I'm not posting about the latest Vivienne Westwood line of tea cozies or 50 shades of architectural porn it's because I've been devoting my internet time to meaningful scientific endeavors.  Like the eradication of boxelders and growing onions.  

I'm super busy with that so maybe someone else could work on the black widow problem.  The problem that they actually exist!

Or maybe someone could work on cloning me and then I'll work on it.  

Christ, do I have to do everything around here?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Let's talk turkey. And by turkey I mean budgets and what they do to your wallet vagina.

Gobble, gobble.  It's the sound of credit card machines every time I come within 50 feet of an antique mall or a Homegoods.  I really need to take a break from shopping after this whole patio thang.  I don't think I actually bought a lot but I SHOPPED a lot and am done.  Done with a capital D.  And broke.  What started out as a simple project in my head resulted in a bit more spending than I had anticipated.  Wow, that's never happened in the history of anything before!  

And because I'm crass and indelicate let's talk about money!  How pedestrian of me.

Budget gangsta.
Normally I don't really "decorate" on a budget because #1 I just acquire shit over time which really isn't decorating because you can't force things to happen at the thrift store no matter how many times you pray to the trash gawds. And #2  I never have a large enough sum of money at one time to put towards one single goal (kitchen renovation excluded).  But the patio seemed like a place that I could actually make habitable with a small sum of money and a short timeline.  

It's like I put myself on a reality tv show where the contestant has $7, one month and a mediocre ranch house patio to make decent before the big reveal on her blog.  Please don't vote me off of my own reality tv show I created in my head!  Charlemagne can host.  

When I added everything up I'd spent a little under $1000 on the patio project in the past few weeks.  Honestly, that's a lot of money to me even though in real decorating world (wherever the fuck that is) it probably makes people chuckle before they drink their tea out of the gold-dipped skulls of former TJ Maxx employees.  

But I don't live in 'real decorating world' I live in the real regular world where I enjoy buying decorative pillows but I enjoy saving for retirement more.  

Okay and getting my hair highlighted.  And going anywhere that has tacos... Obviously I have a very full life outside of design.

I had hoped to spend around $750 which seemed reasonable since getting furniture for free is a little harder than I imagined.  The major things - all the furniture, seat cushions, lighting - actually DID make it in at around $800.  It's the damn accessories that caused my wallet to vibrate every time I passed the outdoor aisle at a Tuesday Morning.  How many lanterns do you need for your patio, Madame?


I use budgets more as guides rather than an actual envelope with $1000 in it because this ain't tv, y'all.  I can spare an extra $25 on a lantern if it makes my eyes orgasm.  It's the the 15 lanterns at $25 each that is where someone might fall into trouble.  And serious credit card debt.  Fortunately my credit card company sends out a band of angry ninjas with poison-tipped throwing stars if I start to spend that much money on lanterns so I'm safe.  

Until I see a clearance aisle...

Accessory warning aside, the big takeaway from this little patio partio was that I learned that having parameters for myself made spending money easier.  I KNOW!  Sounds ass backwards.  

Would I normally spend $100 on a cushion for a bench?  I'm cheap as fuck so unless it's woven of unicorn hair, NO.  Would I spend $100 on globe string lights when I could have bought white Christmas icicle lights at the Dollar General like I live at the redneck North Pole?  Am I shitting monkeys that are shitting thousand dollar bills?  DIDN'T THINK SO.  

Giving myself permission to spend a certain amount of money in the beginning detached me from the money and decision-making became exponentially easier.  This way I didn't have to agonize at EVERY purchase about whether or not this extra tea light was really really worth it.  It may not have put any more money into an IRA but it did give me the shallow satisfaction of having an extra tea light that no one noticed accept me.  Ahhh... because I'm worth it.  

Even though I probably could have done with slightly less than eleventeen cushions and pillows, I like them all and don't regret any accessory decision.

But it wasn't all diamond-covered candle holders and silken ass cushions, my obsessive shopping proved quite frugal in some areas.  I found 50 cent accessories at the thrift store; the West Elm white tables were used and abused and very cheap; my rug and some planters were even scavenged.  I figured it all balanced out with that exhorbitantly expensive $25 lantern.  

So if you're a tight-ass, terrible decision-maker like me (that's code for Virgo), don't be scurred of setting aside a chunk of money.  Maybe you too could appreciate the lovely masochism of a restrictive budget and the joyous freedom to go apeshit within those parameters.  For Dr. Who fans, I can say a budget is like the TARDIS - it felt bigger on the inside.

Or to put it another way, Mr. Grey is your budget and he will do great things to your wallet vagina.
Feel free to share your thoughts about working with a budget, decorating with money-shitting monkeys or your wallet vagina in the comments.  I'm open and curious about what other pedestrians do with their money.

But please don't say anything about my vagina wallet being bigger on the inside - mixing metaphors is rude.