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dress for laundry day

3/31/16

 plus size vintage 1950s summer dress from Va Voom Vintage

I woke up early to thunder and rain slamming into our tin awnings. My favorite thing to do during an early morning storm is make a cup of tea and knit before the kids wake up. We thought for sure that my roofer husband would be off work but the storm cleared and the sun came out! Since it was such a pretty day (and I love the fresh rain smell) the kids and I went for a walk to the nearby Eco Park, which has a little gazebo and pond close to the river.

plus size vintage 1950s summer dress and bakelite from Va Voom Vintage
plus size vintage 1950s summer dress and bakelite bangle bracelets from Va Voom Vintage

 Isn't this hexagon bangle interesting? I found it recently at an antique mall for $5. I thought the plastic jewels were odd and maybe a later add on but @bakeltecrazy on Instagram said they're original and its from the 60s and was kind enough to forward some pics from her incredible collection. Pretty neat! If you're a new Bakelite hunter, check out my post on How to Identify Bakelite

On our walk, the kids collected a few cattails and special rocks while I snapped some pictures of one of my favorite 1950s dresses. I had planned on wearing a gorgeous 40s dress today but since I have to catch up on a little laundry, I thought I'd wear something more comfortable and practical for housework and climbing stairs all day.


Olivia is on spring break this week, which has been a challenge. There's something about spring break that makes perfectly wonderful siblings fight like cats and dogs. So, today while I do laundry, they're making glue and borax slime. Daily fun activities and projects seem to keep the fighting and tattling to a minimum. I'll definitely have to stock up on craft supplies before summer break!





Outfit
1950s dress- warehouse sale
chartreuse cardigan-Target
assorted Bakelite bangles
acorn brooch- Luxulite
t strap shoes- Amerimark

Alley Cat

3/30/16

 

Our historic neighborhood of tiny homes squished close together leaves little hidden spaces that only we see. Behind the houses and little fenced yards are old wooden garages in all colors with mossy patches in the gravelly road and small wild flowers that spring up in the warmer months. Neighborhood dogs trot along during the day and foxes and raccoons skitter around at night, making Bernie, the neighbor's dog absolutely lose his mind.



Our alley is a treasure hunting ground too. Some neighbors pop open the garage on weekends and sell antiques and vintage, some open their gates to come pick from their fruit trees with buckets for the kids to fill and return later. The guy next door opens his garage to my husband to do car repairs and borrow tools when its too cold to do otherwise. Boys play basketball in the summer and guys around the block have an open invitation for cold beers and watching baseball when the garage is open and a light is on.


Someday when we move, I hope I have an alley again like this one. Although its a spot where we park our trash cans, its our little unspoken community. And no one seems to mind the girl with the tripod hanging around their garages in the mornings.


Outfit
t-strap shoes from Mudd- thrifted
Pendleton wool pencil skirt- thirfted
polka dot peasant blouse- Walmart, last year
gray wool beret- estate sale

DIY Printed Throw Pillows

3/29/16

I'm doing a little living room redecorating and bought a pretty gray slip cover for my mustard colored sofa last week. It definitely needed some throw pillows, though. The trouble is,  I could never find just the right thing on my tight budget so I printed my own with custom made stamps.

DIY custom printed throw pillows make your own fabric print stamps




Instead of buying cotton fabric, I checked my stash for a plain white bed sheet. In the spirit of spring cleaning, I'm trying to narrow my linen closet down to just a few sheet sets per bed. Instead of tossing the old or mismatched sheets, I save them for craft projects or building blanket forts.



For the Stamps:
craft foam (the kind for kids craft projects)
cardboard
hot glue
scissors
acrylic paint
a few paint brushes

Cut out some shapes in the craft foam. I cut some semi-circles, triangles and fish shapes (bodies and tails separate). Cut two of each shape.


glue the foam shapes together with hot glue and glue the stacked pieces to a piece of cardboard. Having two layers of foam makes a thicker stamp.



Use a paint brush to apply paint liberally to your stamp



Stamp on the fabric, pressing firmly, especially in the middle. Carefully remove the stamp


If your stamp had some blank spots in the middle, you can leave it for a hand-stamped look or fill it in with your paint brush. Sometimes, the lines will look uneven. You can even them out with the paint brush or leave them as-is. In this project, I found that any accidental smudges or drops of paint gave it some character, like I meant to do that, so I didn't stress too much over it.

When your stamped shapes dry, you can paint details on with a fine paint brush.




When the paint is dry, lay a sheet of paper over the top and iron on low to set it and iron out the little wrinkles in the fabric. The acrylic paint is now permanent and your pillows can be machine washed and dried.





Sew a back on, stuff the pillow and sew up the hole! Oh, for pillow stuffing, you can buy pillow stuffing or forms at the craft store but you can also use thrift store throw pillows or old pillows from around the house.



How to Survive Instagram's Changes as a Blogger

3/28/16

how to survive instagram's new 2016 algorithm changes tips for bloggers


Instagram is owned by Facebook so we all knew it was a matter of time before our utopian social media world started changing in ways that we may not like. We signed petitions and made a stink but big companies will do what big companies will do and bloggers and business owners will have to adapt.

The truth is, Instagram has had an algorithm that only shows us a small portion of the people we follow for a long time. I've noticed in my own feed, not seeing posts from blog friends and wondered to myself "Where'd they go?" only to find that I've missed the last 3 weeks of posts from them. It's a bummer but no one can possibly keep up with all 2,000 people that they follow on any social media network so something had to be done. The changes will hurt some and they will help some. Social media gurus are already lining up with their latest seminar or workbook for sale on how to beat the system but the fact is, there's nothing that you should start doing now that you shouldn't have been doing all along. So here's my tips on how to "survive" the change

Don't turn on post notifications
Right now, this is everyone's big ground-breaking advice on how to make Instagram work for you. Ask your followers to turn on notifications so they'll get a notice on their phone every time you post. I tested this one out myself and it was a disaster. I turned on notifications for about 20 people and my phone buzzed all day and all night. Every time they posted a new picture of their dog, their lunch, their latest Etsy sale, my phone buzzed and chirped at me. Sometimes I was working, sleeping or at a time in the day when I didn't need my phone making noise. I don't want to miss my friend's posts but I also don't want to wake up at 2am when my phone buzzes because someone in Australia posted a selfie. I could turn my phone off or put it on silent but I need to be reachable in case of family emergencies so I turned off post notifications immediately after I turned them on. #sorrynotsorry but post notifications are not the answer.

Engage with people that you like
All social media sites show us posts based on what's popular and what kinds of things we regularly like and comment on. So, if you don't want to miss posts from your favorite accounts, simply like and comment on them regularly and they'll show up in your feed more regularly! It really is that easy. No midnight interruptions from a buzzing phone.This is the way it works for Facebook too.  In turn, if you want your followers to see your stuff, post things that you know they'll like and comment on too. More on that...

Post content that your followers love
I love to share pics of my kids doing silly adorable things or my pretty lunch or my goofy ferret but the truth is, my Instagram followers don't care about those things. I know this because I don't get many likes and comments on those kinds of posts. I could share them anyway but Instagram is an extension of my brand, not my personal journal. The key to being awesome on social media of any kind is to post things that your audience really loves. Each account is unique so what works for one account may not work for another but here's the easy way to find out what your people love:

Use the Instafollow app's media insight tool (this tool is an extra 99 cents)
Log in with your Instagram info and click "media insight" from here, choose "most popular media". The app will show your most liked and commented posts of all time. You can also check your least popular media to see what kinds of posts are a big flop. Here's a look at mine:



My audience obviously loves outfits and pretty vintage hair. They are not interested in Instagram challenges, giveaway shares and things with text overlays. The most liked media has bold colors and great lighting. The least liked is too dark or too light and mostly pastel colors. Now, I can use this as a guide for what to post. Before I make any Instagram posts, I go back to this and think about my audience. If I really want to share something but I know it won't do well on this platform, I can share it with friends on my personal Facebook page nor even start a second Instagram account just for friends and family. Bloggers track their stats to see how well blog posts do, we should do the same for our social media accounts.

Continue to use hashtags that are popular in your niche
Hashtags work and I don't think they'll be going away any time soon. When I need pretty hair inspiration, I know I can search for #vintageupdosformoderngirls #vintagehair or my own hashtag #pincurlclub . To see everyone's cute outfits and accessories, I search for #truevintageootd #oodtsocialclub #thedailybake and #noveltybroochfriday . Keep a small selection of favorite hashtags in mind and use them when you can! Use hashtags that people popular in your niche use and that people in your audience use. Don't use hashtags that only have 100 or so posts, check them to see if they're being used by your ideal audience. Avoid using more than a couple per post. When I use my favorite hashtags, I always get new likes from people that I've never seen before, which leads me to following new people too!

Be Social
Its called social media not "follow me" media. The great thing about Instagram is that it really feels like a community. You talk to people, you share moments of your life, you become friends. Keep the conversation going by leaving genuine comments on posts, asking questions on your own, sharing beautiful things from others (With permission, of course) and maintaining your brand's voice in your posts.

Up your phone photography game 
I'm guilty of the dark photo and since I got my terrible new phone, grainy photos! I'm switching back to my old phone with a better camera just for Instagram photos because the thing about Instagram is that everything must be gorgeous. I've been known to scroll through my feed as fast as my screen will let me. What makes people stop and double tap for a like or leave a comment? It must be eye-catching.

            Start a photo kit: go to the dollar tree or Target's dollar section and pick up some pretty    props for your photos. Wrapping paper or scrapbook paper makes great backgrounds for small objects. Quality fake flowers or real ones add life to the shot. Pick items that fit your niche. You can never go wrong with pretty scissors, cute pencils, sunglasses and lipstick.  Keep your basics in a bin or drawer so they're ready when you are.

        Find a favorite bright, clean spot: for selfies, outfits or flat lays, find a spot that always has awesome lighting and is tidy. Don't take a selfie with a toilet in the background (ahem, like me). While checking your smile or your angles, check your background for clutter, a naked toddler streaking through the house or your neighbor's bathroom renovations in progress.


                 Upgrade to quality photo editing apps: I don't purchase many apps but there are a few that are essential and well worth a few bucks. The best (I think) is VSCO. VSCO itself is free but there's so many beautiful filters that you'll probably want to upgrade to.  Its like the Photoshop of Instagram apps. The selection of stylish filters is spectacular and there's so many necessary tools at the tip of your finger. Its simple to use and I never post a photo without it.  My Instagram following skyrocketed since I started using VSCO to edit my photos.  VSCO holds occasional sales on its filter packages so if you can hold off, you can get a deal on all of the sets.  Other apps I love include A Beautiful Mess, Piclab and Flipagram

Consider your Instagram account as a whole. 
If I'm lucky enough to have someone like my picture enough to click my profile, I want them to like the entire feed as a whole. At a single glance, they should be able to see what my brand and blog is about and determine if I'm worth following. I want my pictures to be bold, bright, well styled and show them what I'm all about. From a non-scrolling glance, you can see my outfits and hair, my craft projects and my vintage home decor and recent vintage finds. Look at your grid and see if its cohesive and speaks for your brand. I like to use the same 3 or 4 filters, the same kinds of colors and similar layouts for my photos.  While you're looking at your grid, make sure to use some key words in your description and a good link to your site.



I hope that these tips help my blogging friends in their Instagramming. Life as a blogger is always changing and it can be hard to keep up but we're in it together! If you have any Instagram tips or challenges that you face in social media, please share in the comments below and of course, follow on Instagram @vavoomvintage

Free Knitting Pattern: 1950s Stripe College Girl Cardigan

3/27/16

 free 1950s stripe cardigan vintage pinup knitting pattern


Happy Easter! We colored our eggs, the Easter bunny brought a bunch of candy for the kids and we're spending the sunny afternoon relaxing.

While looking through my old magazines this week, I found this adorable 1950s college girl stripe cardigan knitting pattern. I've never knitted anything with more than one color before but I think stripes is a good place to start! I love the high collar and elbow-length sleeves. You could pair it with a skirt or jeans and wear it year round!

 



Be sure to check my free patterns page for 60+ free vintage knitting, crochet and sewing patterns and more free vintage pattern downloads here on Va-Voom Vintage Enjoy!

DIY Scandinavian Woven Wall Hanging

3/25/16

Lately, I've been redecorating my living room in a retro/ Scandinavian style. I love the bright, light look and sleek (often vintagey) lines of Scandinavian design and my husband loves the incorporation of rustic elements, nature and functionality. It really is a perfect compromise for us!  While pinning the crap out of Scandinavian design inspiration last week (see my pin board!), I realized I should definitely make a beautiful woven wall hanging.

DIY Scandinavian Woven Wall Hanging with drift wood


I've only ever woven those fabric loop pot holders as a kid but its basically the same thing, right? I dug around in my basement and scavenged some supplies:



a big picture frame for a loom
some cotton string for the warp threads
a wire hanger for a hook to pull the yarn through
a fork to comb the weaving down
random yarn from my stash
wool roving
scissors
plastic needle with a large eye for weaving in the ends
90s movies to entertain me while I was a weaving couch potato all day





About 12 hours later, I had most of a wall hanging. I finished up the next morning after breakfast. We took a walk to the river and I found a couple of perfect drift wood sticks to hang the weaving on. It has a lot of mistakes, some tightness at the top and my triangle is pretty craggy looking but not bad for a first attempt! After realizing that I could probably improve next time, I found a few fantastic weaving tutorials online for any of you who would like to give it a try! Its a great way to use up scrap yarn and its very easy to do while relaxing on the sofa in the evenings.



Weaving Class- The Basics from A Beautiful Mess
Weaving for Beginners with Annabel Wrigley from Creative Bug   (multi-part You Tube series)

I'm having so much fun with weaving and Pj is already working on building some different sized looms and making proper tools for me. I'm thinking about weaving an area rug eventually but I don't know if I could stand having all of those hours of hard work being walked all over! I may stick to wall hangings. Have you ever tried weaving?

How to Make Quick Pin-Worthy Collages with BeFunky

3/23/16



Making collages and Pinterest images is one of my favorite parts of blogging, silly as it sounds. I love to design pretty images and I feel so excited and proud when one of them gets a ton of re-pins and shares. They do take a lot of time to do but worth the extra effort, for sure. I'm so excited to share that BeFunky's Collage Maker tool has a new Collage Wizard feature that effortlessly generates gorgeous Pinterest-worthy collage images with the click of a button.


I love to use collages for craft and beauty tutorials here on my blog but I get the most value from them on Pinterest. While scrolling through social media feeds, collages with step by step tutorials, a well curated collection or ultimate list are some of the most eye-catching and most shared images. More shares means more traffic to your blog! I've spent up to 30 minutes on a single collage, which is crazy. Here's how to use the time saving BeFunky Collage Maker

Select the BeFunky Collage Maker tool


Upload your collage images from your computer:

 From here, click the Layouts button to choose from tons of pre-made layouts or create your own. There are layouts formatted for Facebook and Pinterest, square grids, etc.


Instead of fiddling with fitting your images into the right template and cropping each one to fit, click the Collage Wizard button and BeFunky will generate several beautiful collages to choose from.



 When you've found the collage that you love, click "Select this collage" and save it to your computer.

Adding Text to your Collage
 I like to always have text in my Pinterest and title blog images. Text is so important when it comes to re-pins and social media shares. I tinkered around in BeFunky for quite a while, playing with overlays and text, trying to figure out the best way to add text to my collage. Finally, I realized its just as easy as making the collage itself! Make a little text box in your desired font and colors and upload it with the rest of your collage images and hit the collage wizard button.



A few more tips about the BeFunky Collage Wizard:
  • You can drag and drop images to get it just the way you want it
  • If an individual image isn't quite right,click it and open it in the image editor
  • You can remove images and delete cells entirely, just by clicking on the image that you want to delete.
From uploading images to posting them on my blog, the collage that once took 30 minutes is done in less than 5! See how much time you'll free up and try out the new BeFunky Collage Maker 
Also check out my post, DIY Blog Graphics with BeFunky



This post is sponsored by BeFunky. Please see my full disclosure policy

DIY Lemon Brooch

3/22/16



I needed a cute new brooch for spring. I love lemons so I thought "Hey, let's do a lemon brooch tutorial!"



I've made a million brooches in felt and shrink plastic so this time I wanted to do something different. I love the look of laser cut plastic jewelry but since we don't all have a laser cutter, I sat, thinking about what materials we could use for something like laser cut jewelry without the expensive machines.

My blog planner was laying at my feet and the shiny laminated plastic cover caught my eye. Laminate....plastic.... How about cheap plastic folders? Eureka!



You will need:
a few cheap plastic folders :yellow, white or clear/frosted, green. I used the back of this coupon organizer for my white plastic
E6000 craft glue or something similar
a pin back
scissors
this printable template { Download HERE from Dropbox }

trace your template pieces onto the folder with a white crayon or dry erase marker so it'll wipe away easily

cut out two yellow wedges and one white sectioned piece. You'll need a craft knife to carefully cut out some of the inside bits. Wipe the traced pattern away


Glue the two yellow wedges together


Glue the white section on top and wipe away excess glue.



Glue a pin on the back




And how cute is that?! You could do oranges, limes, strawberries, watermelon and all different shapes with these plastic folders. I love it!



If you enjoyed this tutorial, check out my ebook, Pins for Pin-Ups: DIY Brooches for Retro Girls, where I teach you how to make 12 vintage inspired brooches using supplies from the recycling bin.




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