Retro Mid-Century Atomic Space Age Christmas Decor Theme

Ahhh I am so excited to show you our home office’s Christmas theme!! I’ve had this retro sci-fi idea floating around in my mind forever and I’m so glad I was able to pull it all together. I was in a pretty serious car accident in November, so for a moment I didn’t think I’d be able to rally in time to make this happen, but I was able to work it out and I’m super happy with the result.

I was inspired by the atomic and space age depictions of Christmas popular in the mid 20th century. Think Christmas cards with Santa riding a rocket, flying saucer shaped Shiny Brites, and even movies like Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Unfortunately, it was a difficult task finding the appropriate items to deck my halls in this theme, aside from one or two retro style ornaments I found at Michael’s. Fortunately I was able to craft my way through enough projects to make it pretty much exactly what I had in mind.

I’ll be following this post up with others detailing the DIY crafts I did with links to materials, so stay tuned for that. For now let me take you on a little tour of the room!

Retro Space Age Atomic Christmas.jpgSince it’s a small room I needed a tree that wouldn’t overwhelm the space. I went with this slim white tree from Treetopia which fits nicely. It has white lights, but my vintage Norelco color wheel adds some festive color to it as well.

One of my favorite Christmas crafts to do each year is to make custom no-sew tree skirts. You can see examples of that here and here. This year was no exception! For this one I used ufos, boomerang shapes, and starbursts, finished off with silver metallic fringe.

DIY Space Age Atomic Felt Tree SkirtDIY Atomic Space Age themed tree skirtTo decorate the tree I used blue and gold star wired garland and a variety of starburst ornaments I’ve collected over the years.

Space Age themed Christmas treeOf course I used some of my vintage reflector ornaments and threaded ball fringe comets.Retro ChristmasI found a few fitting ornaments at Michaels like a flying saucer, rocket Santa, and an aluminum tray TV dinner (space age technology!).Space Age Retro ChristmasRetro Space Age themed treeOuterspace SantaI also made colorful sputnik ornaments (look for those in an upcoming post!)DIY Sputnik style ornaments

And I even added a space helmet (an empty craft ornament) to Frosty!DIY Space Age ornaments

I found an astronaut nutcracker and gave him an aluminum tree to decorate. This is just three craft cones of different sizes covered in foil tape and stacked!Space Age themed Christmas decorationsAnother rocket Santa! Made out of a bird feeder, metallic tape, and mini ornaments. DIY Space themed Christmas decor

And my new pet, my favorite Christmas creation of all time, my space deer! He’s made out of a papier mache deer and a round terrarium. DIY Space Age themed Christmas decor

Over on the shelves we’ve got some spacey aluminum and vintage Shiny Brites.Retro Space Age Christmas Decor

Retro inspired Christmas decorRetro Themed Christmas

I found this vintage space Santa image and had it enlarged and printed. It even has space reindeer!

Space age ChristmasLooks pretty good over by our 1960 Philco Predicta. Retro Space Age themed Christmas tree

And there it is! I hope you liked the tour!Retro Space Age Christmas decor

 

 

Stay tuned for a followup post of details on the DIYs and all the resources.

 

Melodrama Halloween Home Decor 2018

Hey, Ghosts and Ghouls! Tomorrow is Halloween and I wanted to show you this year’s decor. I used a few DIY projects like my dip dyed pumpkins, Halloween Putz houses, a DIY banner for our bar, and some cut up spiderweb placemats for the kitchen cabinets and bedroom. And of course all the classic stuff like cob webs, spiders, bats, jack o lanterns, and bones!

I’ll just let the photos show you. Happy Melodramaween!

Halloween BarMid-century Home Halloween BarHalloween DecorMid-century home halloween decorMid-Century Home Spooky Halloween DecorVintage halloween decorVintage style scream queenMid-Century Modern Halloween Putz HousesMid Century Mod Putz HousesRit Dyed PumpkinsEasy Halloween Kitchen DecorRetro Style Halloween WitchRetro Style Halloween Witch

Happy Halloween!

DIY Mid-Century Modern Halloween Putz Houses

Halloween is already in two weeks and I’m just now putting some finishing touches on my decorating! It really snuck up on me this year! Better late than never I guess…

While thinking of crafts and decorations I wanted to make this year, I thought about the mid-century inspired Christmas putz houses I made a few years ago and figured it would be cute to switch it up and make some Halloween versions!

I used the same patterns and method as the Christmas ones, but instead of leaving the windows open, I printed out some mid-century modern inspired Halloween artwork I found by the artist Shag to place in the windows for more detail. Shag is a super popular in Palm Springs so it seemed perfect that I use his art for my mid-mod putz houses. I don’t own any rights to Shag’s work, so I’m not going to link or post the images I used since this was for my own personal at-home use. You can use any Halloween art you’d like, just made sure to scale it down to about 2 inches in height to fit the house patterns.  Remember to scale them to around 2 inches in height.

DIY Midcentury Modern Halloween Putz House PatternCut out any window openings and place the printed art behind, using scotch tape or a glue stick to affix it. You can mix and match images, or just stick to one theme.DIY Midcentury Modern Halloween Putz House Pattern

Then just assemble the houses and decorate around them using Halloween miniatures you can find at any hobby store! I used mini pumpkins and tombstones. I also added more Shag art between the houses to give it more of a background. I couldn’t pass up some of the outdoor party scenes I found!

Here’s what I came up with.

DIY Halloween Mid Century Modern Putz Houses featuring ShagDIY Mid Century Modern Halloween Putz Houses featuring art by ShagHalloween DIY Mid Mod Putz Houses featuring art by ShagMid century Mod Putz Houses featuring Halloween artwork by ShagMid Mod DIY Halloween Putz Houses featuring ShagPalm Springs style Halloween putz houses featuring art by Shag

And I displayed them on my credenza under my TV!

Mid Century Mod Putz HousesMid-Century Modern Halloween Putz Houses

Tada! Mid – century modern putz house Halloween village!

Make sure you tag me @melodrama or use the hashtag #melodramaween on Instagram if you make your own version!

 

All artwork by the amazing artist Shag

All Dolled Up: Tatyana Boutique’s Clementine Dress with Matching Bolero

We’ve been having a very humid summer combined with 110+ degree temperatures, so I’ve been trying to wear outfits that keep me cool and comfortable. This “Clementine” fit and flare dress with bolero that Tatyana Boutique sent me has been an unexpected favorite in my summer rotation! I thought the fitted bodice and bolero would be better suited for cooler weather, but I’m loving it as a summer staple.

Tatyana Boutique Clementine Dress   .jpg

The dress has a very classic mid-century fit and flare shape with pleats and POCKETS. YES! Aside from having the most lovely tangerine-y coral color, both the dress and bolero have a delicate embroidery detail.  Tatyana Boutique Clementine Dress Embroidery DetailI paired it here with tone-toned t-strap heels from Sam Edelman, a vintage handbag, and heart shaped sunglasses from Hello Holiday. I didn’t feel any crinoline was needed for a casual look since the skirt has a lot of volume on it’s own. That definitely gives it bonus points as a summer dress for me.Tatyana Boutique Clementine Fit and Flare   .jpg

That’s all for today babes! A colorful vintage inspired look available in sizes XS-4X that I highly recommend picking up for yourself.

Here’s the links for the look!

Dress/Bolero: Tatyana Boutique

Heart Sunnies: Hello Holiday 

How I Fixed Up My 1950s Refrigerator

A couple of months ago I found a busted down vintage GE refrigerator freezer combination with original ice tray online for about $100. The owner told me it didn’t work but that it should be an easy fix, so I took the risk and drove a couple of hours to San Diego to pick it up. It was in muchhhh filthier condition than the pictures lead on, and had some old wires sticking out of the back, but I figured I’d already invested the time and money to rent a pickup truck and drive out, I might as well just lug it home and see if I could bring it back to life. It’s hard to find the right sized vintage appliances to fit apartment kitchens, and this one was the PERFECT size for mine so I didn’t want to give up. I should note I also drove to Newport Beach, another couple of hours from San Diego, on the same day to pick up a 1950s gas stove that didn’t end up fitting my kitchen. More on that later, but I was extra determined to make the fridge work after that defeat.

Here’s what I was working with.

1950s GE refrigerator Refurb before

Rust, scratches, dirt, grime, and slightly corroded chrome. Not terrible.

But inside was much worse. Rust, mildew, a weird smell, so much grime. What did I get myself into?

1950s refrigerator before

Since this was going to be the place I stored our food I wanted to be cautious about what I used to clean the inside. I didn’t want to use anything that would leave a lingering chemical smell or residue so I turned to the following products and methods, and used A LOT of elbow grease.

First, I removed all of the shelves and drawers and soaked them in my sink and scrubbed the hell out of them. Then I did a whole general scrub down with Simply Green and let it air out with the doors open. I did this a total of four or five times until it was clean enough to move on to the rust and mildew.

For the mildew and rust I used a mixture of good old baking soda and vinegar, a Scrub Daddy sponge, and a toothbrush. The gaskets were still supple and the seal on the doors were good (test with a sheet of paper, if it slides out get new gaskets), so I just I applied the baking soda and vinegar paste and scrubbed over and over until the mildew was completely gone. Some of the rust spots corroded the paint, but I was able to use extra-fine sandpaper to buff it smooth and applied appliance touchup paint over the smaller chipped spots as needed. On the bottom the rust was too extreme so I used a couple of coats of white automotive spray paint. I wouldn’t recommend painting the whole thing that way, but it worked for this small part.

1950s refrigerator Refurb After inside

Now onto the outside! The original paint was mostly in ok condition, so I just wanted to fill in a couple of scratches and bring some lustre and shine back to it. For this I used automotive detailing supplies. I applied several layers of a buffing cream and car wax with an electric orbital buffer. Just as you would detail an old car. I used a chrome polish and superfine steel wool to bring as much shine to the chrome as possible. 1950s Refrigerator Refurb After

And there it is! The only thing was it still had a lingering smell. Not a horrible smell, just that general old freezer smell. The only thing that worked was these miracle Arm and Hammer Fridge-n-Freezer Packs. They’re super cheap so we replaced them every couple days until the smell was completely gone. That took about a week and now we replace it as needed.

The last thing I needed to tackle was the mechanics. After all of that cleaning the damn thing didn’t work. I consulted a few vintage message boards, and spoke to a repair shop, and was confident it just needed a new relay. The problem is the replacement relay for this model is long gone so I had to rewire it with a new universal relay. This was way easier than it sounds, you literally just follow the directions on the package. Definitely consult with a repair shop or the manufacturer if you have questions though.

As soon as I plugged it in the compressor kicked on and I jumped up and down and ran around in circles because WOW WHAT A PAY OFF! IT WORKS!

I know old refrigerators have a reputation of being energy suckers, but our bill and usage hasn’t gone up at all compared to our modern fridge. From my understanding the high energy consumption comes from older models that incorporate an automatic defrost system. This model needs to be defrosted every couple of months, but I simply use a blow dryer and old towel and it takes me about 15 minutes. Another issue of concern for some people is size. It is smaller inside than a modern refrigerator, but we don’t store very much food at once, so that hasn’t been a problem for us.

Here it is living happily in our kitchen! Perfect fit. I love it.

1950s GE refrigerator in modernized kitchen.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Room/Office Floor Update with FLOR Carpet Squares

Have I ever mentioned on here how much I love working with FLOR carpet tiles? I’m sure I have. I used them in my own living room and they’re the best ever. Blogger Krys Melo's 1960 Mid-Century Apartment

After seeing how easy they are to install and clean, and how durable they are, I knew I wanted to use them somewhere else in my apartment.

We’re currently in the process of decorating our spare room to be a multi-functional office/guest room. Instead of looking for an area rug to fit the wonky dimensions, I decided to use FLOR carpet squares again. I had the Mod Cafe pattern in mind because I thought the sputnik style design would bring in mid-century hotel and vibes. After receiving samples of all the color variations, I chose the color ‘linen’. It’s a blue-grey that changes to more one or the other depending on how the light hits it.

Mod Cafe Linen Flor.jpgThe cool thing about FLOR squares is that you can customize a rug to fit your needs. You can mix and match colors and patterns to create something truly unique, or you can just go with one all over pattern like I’ve done. They’re easy to cut and they simply stick together using the included FLORdots stickers. Flor Squares Install.jpgThe stickers hold the corners of the tiles together and only stick to the backing of the carpet squares. Nothing actually sticks to your floor underneath so you don’t have to worry about ruining it or having to deal with sticky residue underneath. Plus, when we move we can just stack them up and take them with us to the next place.

OH! They’re also a breeze to clean. Some one spill a drink? Dog had an accident? Just pop up the dirty square and wash it out in the sink. Let it dry and stick it back down. Or if one gets ruined you can replace it. 

Here’s what the room looked like before FLOR squares.Before FlorBefore FlorFirst I laid out the squares to make sure I was happy with the placement. Any parts that need trimmed are easily cut with a utility knife or box cutter.

Flor LayoutThis room is tiny so I decided to do the entire thing. Once I was happy with the placement I easily applied the stickers to the corners to hold it all together and voila!

Flor Linen Mod Cafe

Atomic carpet! All done in about an hour!Flor Mod Cafe Linen

The lines blend together more and more as the carpet fibers fluff up a bit. Vacuuming helps.

Here’s what it looks like now!

After Flor Mod Cafe LinenTada! I think it definitely makes the room feel more put together and adds some much needed pattern. I love the way the blue-grey looks against the blush pink velvet of our sleeper sofa, and the black and gold of the table. Bonus, it’s perfect for home office use because it immediately eliminated any awkward phone echo! After Flor Mod Cafe Linen.jpg

If you’re thinking about getting a little creative with your flooring, be sure to check out FLOR! They always have good sale events and you can purchase in expensive samples of all their patterns before committing.

The room isn’t completely done yet, but stay tuned for a few more DIYs and the final reveal!

 

 

 

Patio Makeover with Article Furniture

Hey lovies! It’s been awhile since I talked about our little patio space. Remember when we added faux hedges and painted? Well we FINALLYYYYY got furniture out there and have made it a proper space to hang out!

Shopping for furniture was a lot more difficult than I expected and it took me forever. I couldn’t find anything I wanted within my price range, and everything I did find, both vintage and new, seemed to not be able to hold up in our 3 digit desert heat. Don’t ask me about the vintage chairs that completely scorched in the sun last summer. Wahhh!

Luckily Article expanded their outdoor furniture selection with quality and affordable pieces with the vintage flair I was looking for! Yay! As soon as I saw the rattan style chairs I knew I had to have them. They look a lot like ones I saw in a vintage magazine I have.

Wait, first let me jog your memory with what I was working with when we moved in.

Then we did a little painting and added some faux hedges and grass around the perimeter.

And here’s what it looks like now!

Renter friendly Patio Makeover

This is the view when you first walk in. Instead of re-painting the floor we laid out astroturf over the concrete like a big area rug. We removed the grass around the perimeter and added heat tolerant plants such as palms and hibiscus, and a potted lemon tree. Along the back fence is jasmine, bougainvillea, and yellow lantana which I’m hoping will continue to climb and cover the fence with beautiful flowers.

Hibiscus LandscapingHibiscus and FlamingoLemon tree

As for furniture, I really wanted a lush tropical vibe, so we chose the Daisy and Medan lounge chairs and Po side table from Article.

Vintage inspired Palm Springs PatioThe Daisy chairs and Po table go so well together in this little corner, along with this yellow umbrella I spray painted white and added fringe to.Rattan Chairs from ArticleEvery one who sits in these chairs is pleasantly surprised by how comfortable they are!Outdoor Table from ArticleThe Po table is the perfect little side table for drinks and small plates. Hot tip: it looks beautiful when you use a little mineral oil to bring out the grain and texture of the wood. Mid Century Tropical Inspired Patio

On the other side of the patio we grouped four Medan lounge chairs around a fire pit table and surrounded them with more plants for a lush oasis feel.

Outdoor Seating Space with firepitOutdoor LivingOutdoor Living SpaceAlong the wall we have a table with an outdoor pizza oven and cooking space.Palm Springs Apartment PatioTropical inspired patioArticle ChairIKEA plantersNow it feels like an extension of our apartment and another living space to enjoy! Mid-century inspired Palm Springs Patio

Just in time for the 110 degree summer days. Ha! At least the furniture is holding up exceptionally well in these temps and I don’t have to worry about anything getting ruined.

Stay tuned for a post about how I transformed those umbrellas!

 

Special thanks to Article for partnering with us on this makeover.