DIY Mid-Century Inspired Colorful Metallic Sputnik Ornaments

When I was gathering decorations for my space age tree I knew I wanted to try and find some vintage or retro style colorful sputnik ornaments. Unfortunately my search game up empty for exactly what I was looking for in my price range, so I got crafty with an easy DIY version.

I gathered everything I needed from my local craft store including:

Mini wooden dowels
Metallic round beads (the dowels should fit perfectly into the bead)
Glitter Styrofoam Ball Vase Filler
Metallic washi tape
Metallic embroidery thread
Craft glue

DIY Sputnik ornaments

First create a loop with a piece of embroidery thread and insert both ends through the bead opening. Next, insert the mini wooden dowel into the bead opening. This should hold the thread in place.

Then wrap the wooden dowel in metallic washi tape. The best way to do this is cut strips the length of the dowel and wrap it lengthwise like you’re rolling a j….nevermind you get the idea ;).

Finally dip the end of the dowel into craft glue and insert the dowels into the styrofoam ball in a sputnik type pattern.

DIY Sputnik style ornamentsYou’ll end up with ornaments like this! DIY Sputnik ornaments

Told you it was easy! Get creative with colors and patterns! Be sure to tag me at @melodrama or use the hashtag #krysmasgram on Instagram to show me your creations!

DIY No-Sew Retro Atomic Space Age Tree Skirt

One of my favorite things to do each year is make new no-sew felt tree skirts. They’re super easy and fun to make and don’t require any skills except being able to use scissors and glue. You can see past tutorials with measurements and instructions here and here.

This year I needed something to match my office’s retro space age theme, so I used flying saucers and atomic shapes like boomerangs and starbursts.

DIY Atomic Space Age themed tree skirt

I used the method detailed here to cut my skirt out of green felt. Then I cut my shapes out of sheets of different colored felts. I used silver metallic rick rack to add rays to my flying saucers and shiny snowflake starburst buttons for a little extra shine. I finished off the edges with silver metallic fringe! I always use standard craft glue to adhere all of it.

Here are the shapes I used to make your felt cutting life a little easier! Print on a standard piece of paper. (Opt to scale to fit paper on your print settings if possible.)

Retro Atomic Space Age Tree Skirt Template

Tada! Retro Space Age Atomic Christmas

Make sure to tag @melodrama or use the hashtag #krysmasgram on Instagram to show me your creations!

 

 

 

DIY Retro Inspired Christmas Space Age Reindeer

As you saw from my previous post I went full on atomic space age for my home office. I had to do a few DIYs to make it exactly what I wanted it to be, but my favorite is probably this astrodeer!

This project required some Frankenstein style surgery, but I’m really thrilled with the way it turned out. Here’s what I did!

Supplies

Paper Mache Deer
 6.5″ Round Glass Terrarium
Aluminum Foil Tape
Utility Blade
Hot Glue
Craft Glue
Silver Tinsel Garland
Silver Tinsel Stems
Craft paper or paper bags

 

DIy Space Deer TutorialOk I’m going to admit right now I didn’t take process photos because I’m the worst and I wasn’t even sure it was going to work, BUT luckily it’s a pretty straight forward process. (Note: I’m going to make one for a friend so I’ll try to update this post with photos when I do!)

In order to get the deer’s head into the terrarium, but still have the helmet in the position I wanted, I had to make cuts on the points shown below.

Space Deer Cut Diagram.jpg

I added paper ears and eyes and placed the head in the terrarium. Once the head was in the terrarium (from here on known as the helmet) I reattached the bottom part of the antlers, and the upper part of the neck with craft glue and used chopsticks to help get where I had trouble reaching. Once it was dry, I used wet strips of paper bag and glue to cover the cut seams.

Space Deer DIY.jpg

Then I used hot glue to attach the rest of the antler to the top of the helmet, and the helmet to body. I used a black sharpie to draw on the hooves and a nose, then I covered the body in foil tape, and covered all the glue joints with tinsel wire and garlands.

There it is! My new spacey pet. Isn’t he a cutie?

DIY Space Age Deer

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

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