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

 

 

 

 

 

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Spring Wardrobe Update with Rit Dye

Hey, fam. I’ve been busy at updating some rooms and my back patio for spring and thought it would be a good idea to update some of my wardrobe too! While going through my closet I found this white dress I got last year from Tatyana that I haven’t worn in foreverrrr. Rather than giving it away I decided to try to dye it using Rit’s new coral color. I love that they came out with this color because I used to have to custom mix a few different shades together to make color, but now it’s ready to use! I figured if it didn’t work out I could just use Rit’s color remover, which I’ve had a ton of luck with in the past.

Coral Dress Before.jpg

The cool thing about this dress is that the fabric has an iridescent sheen and a subtle retro bubble pattern. My hope was that the dye would bring out the bubble pattern and leave some of the sheen.

Rit Coral Dye.jpg

The fabric is mostly polyester so I was worried it wouldn’t take the dye, but as soon as I dunked it into the dye bath it soaked it right up and I was not disappointed.

The way I like to dye everything, including synthetics, is to make a very hot dye bath in my sink with hot, hot water and a few drops of liquid soap. I let the garment soak for about an hour, stirring and shifting the fabric every 15 minutes or so for an even dye. Then I rinse with cold water and Rit’s color fixative. Then I line dry.

Coral Dress.jpgSee how the fabric took the dye and made the pattern pop? I love the way it turned out!

Spring Wardrobe Makeover Coral Dress.jpg

Now I have a spring-y new dress to wear while pretending I’m good at gardening.

 

This post was sponsored by Rit but all ideas, opinions, and words are my own. 

Pink Rose Valentine’s Day Cocktail Recipe

Happy Valentine’s Day, sweethearts!

I’ve got a quick little retro cocktail recipe that is perfect for date night or just drinking alone while you curse Cupid. It’s perfectly pink and has a kick!

Pink Rose Cocktail

Pink Rose Cocktail

1 ½ ounces gin
1 egg white
1 tablespoon grenadine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon cream

Shake well in a cocktail shaker with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Pink Rose Cocktail .jpg

That’s it! Enjoy

Melodrama’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

OK, this gift guide is totally last minute, like my shopping. My gifts always arrive late, but to me that just extends Christmas a little more and you end up with a little New Years gift. Right??? I am who I am.

If you’re like me and still need gift ideas for the hip and happening people in your life here’s a list of some of my favorites!

Cone Vase by Baigelman Glass

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Flamingo Tiki Glasses by Love and Victory

flamingo

Hand Painted Plaques from Everyday is a Holiday

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Bad Girls Throughout History by Ann ChenBadGirlsThroughoutHistory3DCover_large.jpg

Subscription to Atomic Ranch Magazinear_win17_us_c1.jpg

Betty Boomerang Subscription Box0a65c9667aff446fbb3447e4d2d45a6c_600.png

Eliot Sunglasses from Hello Holiday5D3_6177_49acd2ab-58aa-4193-893c-7f1f6e58f3da_2048x2048

 

Ban.do Rose 17 Month Agendabando-il-agenda-17_month_medium-rose_parade-02_1024x1024For the kids…

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Star Diner Restaurant

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For the pet lover…

Modern Pet Feeder by modernmews il_570xN.371960753_iki5.jpg

The splurge…

Roccbox Portable Pizza Oven

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What’s on your list? Tell me some of your favorite things in the comments below!

DIY No-Sew Mid-Century Inspired Christmas Tree Skirt

It’s that time again! Christmas time! I love this time of year. No matter what is going on in life, good or bad, decorating my Christmas tree always cheers me up. This year we switched things up a bit and used our fake pink tree instead of trying to find a natural, flocked one here in the desert. We even got a rotating stand so the whole thing spins!

I badly needed a new tree skirt since my last DIY one got ruined during our move. Wahhh.

diy-felt-christmas-tree-skirt-3

I used the same tutorial and materials as my previous no-sew felt Christmas tree skirt (pictured above), and put a different spin on it.

First you need a couple yards of 72″ felt. Then you make a circle in your desired size. I explain this in more detail here.diy-felt-christmas-tree-skirt-2

Then use pieces of felt in various colors to create curved rhombus shapes that were popular in the 50s and 60s.

Mid-century inspired tree skirtLike so!Mid-century inspired tree skirt made with felt

Then just simply use fabric glue to adhere them to the felt skirt in whatever pattern you desire.

Mid-century inspired tree skirt DIY

And there you have it! A quick and easy DIY tree skirt for your retro tree.

DIY Mid-century inspired Christmas tree skirt

Happy tree trimming!

 

Be sure to tag your Christmas photos with #Krysmasgram on Instagram!

 

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs

As you may have guessed by now, I have this love affair with Palm Springs. Funnily enough while I was growing up and living there I couldn’t wait for any excuse to get out, now I can’t wait for any excuse to go back. It’s one of those weird things where you don’t appreciate something until you’re a grown up I guess. Or maybe it’s because Palm Springs is totally making a come back as the hottest (literally) vacation spot around for millenials. Since the 1920s Palm Springs has been the quick getaway of choice for Angelenos, and I’m no exception. I’m not entirely sure that I’ll ever live there again, but I do like making the trip as often as possible.

This time we stayed at The Parker Palm Springs. Once you see the pictures, you’ll know why I love this place. 

Built in 1959, it was originally California’s first Holiday Inn. In 1961 Gene Autry purchased the property and changed its name to Melody Ranch. Throughout the 90s it took on a few other identities, but in 2003 it became The Parker we know today. The hotel is fabulously decorated and set on a 13 acre secret garden-esque property, where getting lost isn’t so bad. Don’t worry they give you a map upon check-in.

Let me take you on a little photographic tour.

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama

When you drive up to the secluded property you’re instantly greeted by the most photogenic brick wall and the friendliest valet around.

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs  via Melodrama

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama

After you pass your keys along to the nice guys in the colorful shorts, stop and take a deep breath, because you’re officially about to experience what The Parker is all about.

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs

Pass through the big orange doors and straight into the lobby.

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama

The hotel, which was decorated by one of my favorite designers, Mr. Jonathan Adler, has the kind of colorful, eclectic, retro vibes that I live for. JA is great at mixing vintage and mod styles with humor and unexpected touches. Like the cheeky DRUGS sign that hangs on the wall.

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaChecking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama

You’ll notice is there is plenty of lush seating areas and colorful glasswork featured throughout the lobby. Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaChecking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama

That mid-century Flintstones-like wall kills me. Behind it you’ll find what reminds me of a 60s party pad, in the best way possible. I mean LOOK.

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama

There’s a firepit and hanging basket chairs. What, what, WHAT?

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama

There are three places to eat on the property – Mister Parker’s, Norma’s, and the Lemonade Stand. Mister Parker’s is open for dinner and features a posh, dark dining room where they serve french bistro style fare.Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama

Norma’s is most known for its impressive breakfast and brunch menu and casual dining experience. I love the cute ambiance and colors of this place and the round chair cushions make me insanely happy.

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaNorma’s also has a small dinner menu and PIE SHAKES. That’s right…PIE. SHAKES. You pick the ice cream, filling, and topping. Like pie a la mode in milkshake form.

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama

If you’re looking for something more of the liquid diet variety there’s the Lemonade Stand. Here they serve up refreshing and delicious alcoholic drinks. Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaI’ll be honest, at first I was a little shocked by the price on my tab(around $30 for 2 drinks), since the drink prices aren’t listed on the menu, but when you take into account the size of the drinks and the quality and amount of liquor they use, it’s not really any more expensive than other places. The drinks really are delicious and sizable. I definitely caught a buzz.

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama

The Lemonade Stand is a bar conveniently located next to the main 24 hour adult pool so you can sip and sun your way through the weekend. Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaChecking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaThere is also a family pool (which was closed for renovations during our stay) and an indoor pool at the resort’s luxe spa, PSYC.

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaThe grounds also have plenty of little secluded pockets featuring fire pits, hammocks, and lawn games where you can lounge and play.Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaChecking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaChecking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaWe stayed in one of the 465 square foot deluxe patio rooms situated near the back of the property.

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaI loved this spacious room. It was a little dark because it’s on the ground level and has a private fenced patio, but it was nice and cozy and good escape from the heat and sun. The king sized bed was comfortable with soft pillows and good linens. I slept SO well. Oh! And free wifi!
Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via Melodrama

Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaJonathan Adler everywhere!Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaThe spacious bathroom has double sinks and a soaking tub.Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaOur favorite part of the room was the private patio that has a small table with chairs and a HAMMOCK. Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaChecking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaThe hammock is great for private outdoor napping and milkshake sipping. Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaWarning: the hammock is so exciting you might get a little too eager and fall out like my husband did. See what I mean about those Lemonade Stand drinks? Don’t worry. He’s ok!Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaNow you’ve gotten a full glimpse of one of my favorite hotels in Palm Springs. I can’t wait until the next time we get to spend the weekend. Who knows, maybe I’ll see you guys there.Checking In: A Weekend at The Parker Palm Springs via MelodramaThank you to the Parker Palm Springs for a wonderful stay.

The Parker Palm Springs
4200 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264
(760) 770-5000

 

DIY: Tropical Retro Inspired Decoupage Easter Eggs

I’ve always loved decorating Easter eggs, and just because I’m a grown up doesn’t mean I can’t continue to partake in the fun. Every year I grab my Easter candy and a carton of eggs and get down to it. There are so many great ways to decorate Easter eggs. There’s the stinky vinegar dye, watercoloring, markers, glitter, the list goes on. Personally my favorite is decoupage. This method allows you to get really creative eggs, with very little effort.

Tropical Decoupage Easter Eggs

I’m always inspired by mid-century themes, so of course I went with that vibe for my Easter eggs.

Tropical Decoupage Easter Eggs

Here’s what you need: Decoupage medium, craft paint, images to cut out, and of course eggs. Stock photo sites and magazines are a great place to find images to cut out.

Paint or dye your eggs first, if you want. Then all you have to do is cut out your little images and use the decoupage medium to adhere them to your egg. Then apply another layer of decoupage medium over the top of it, let it dry, and that’s it!

Tropical Decoupage Easter Eggs

You can have a lot of fun with your designs by layering images to create your own motif or scene.

On one, I painted the egg to create the look of an umbrella and grass. Then I used cutouts of patio furniture and from vintage bathing suit patterns to create a summery scene. On another I layered cutouts of flamingos and leaves.

Tropical Decoupage Easter EggsOr you can just make a random pattern of images around the egg. Like palms, pineapples, sunglasses, and beach umbrellas.

Tropical Decoupage Easter Eggs

I loveeee how these turned out. I don’t want to throw them away! I should have blown the yolks out and not boiled them. Oh well, next time.

Tropical Decoupage Easter Eggs

I’d probably keep them out all year long if I could, but I’m sure the rotten smell and salmonella aren’t worth it. Boo. Tropical Decoupage Easter Eggs

I hope all of you have a stupendous Easter, and I hope Easter Bunny brings you enough candy to make you sick. That’s the best part of Easter.

Tropical Decoupage Easter Eggs

If you would like to download the images I used, click below. For personal use only, please.

Tropical EasterEgg Printout