4th of July Party Decorating Ideas

Fruit Salad Sailboat

A simple sail is all you need to transform a watermelon fruit salad into a seaworthy centerpiece.

Fruit Salad sailboat

Photo by BHG.com

Cut a triangle from ticking fabric and fold it in half over a dowel. Hot-glue the fabric along the dowel to secure and along the loose edges for a stiff sail.

 

Decorative Utensil Jars

Don’t bother setting the table — guests can grab what they need from these adorable, no-fuss utensil jars.

Decorative Utensil Jars

Photo by BHG.com

Simply decorate containers, like empty oatmeal canisters, by wrapping them with festive paper and securing with tape. Add an adhesive chalkboard label to send a fun message.

 

Roll and Wrap Place Setting
Make picnic prep a breeze with an all-in-one utensil holder and place mat. Fold the long end of a dish towel up until it becomes the size of a place mat.

Roll and Wrap place setting

Photo by BHG.com

Stitch or hot-glue the outer edges together. Insert utensils into the pocket, roll up, and tie with a separate ribbon.

 

Fair-Style Berry Cones
Use food to decorate the picnic table.

Fair-style Berry Cones

Photo by BHG.com

Form sturdy waxed paper into cones, securing with transparent tape. Fill each cone with blue or red berries to create a sweet treat and dazzling display all in one.

 

For more ideas on how to create an American Patriotic Picnic, log on to the Better Homes and Gardens website.

 

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Homemade Easter Egg Dye Recipes

Real Simple© offers ways to dye Easter eggs safely and naturally.  Need a refresher on how to create a perfectly hard-boiled egg?  Click here.

How to Make Blue

Handmade Dyed Eggs

Photo by Real Simple©

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound frozen blueberries (about 3½ cups)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:

1. On the stovetop, bring frozen blueberries and water to a boil in a pot. Boil for 5 minutes.
2. Pour colored liquid into a cup or bowl, straining out the blueberries with a strainer.
3. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

How to Make Yellow

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons turmeric
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

 

Directions:
1. On the stovetop, bring turmeric and water to a boil in a pot. Boil for 5 minutes.
2. Pour colored liquid into a cup or bowl.
3. Stir in 1 tablespoon vinegar.

How to Make Orange

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

 

Directions:
1. On the stovetop, bring paprika and water to a boil in a pot. Boil for 5 minutes.
2. Pour colored liquid into a cup or bowl.
3. Stir in 1 tablespoon vinegar.

How to Make Pink

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces frozen raspberries (about 3½ cups)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:
1. On the stovetop, bring frozen raspberries and water to a boil in a pot. Boil for 5 minutes.
2. Pour colored liquid into a cup or bowl, straining out the raspberries with a strainer.
3. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

How to Make Brown

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup instant coffee granules
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

Directions:
1. In a cup or bowl, stir coffee granules and boiling water together.
2. Add 1 tablespoon vinegar.

 

How to Make Green

Directions:

  •  In a bowl or cup, mix one part blue liquid with one part yellow liquid.

 

 

Make Sugar Skulls to Celebrate Day of the Dead

Sugar Skulls are a traditional folk art from Southern Mexico used to celebrate Day of the Dead. Mounds of colorful sugar skulls are sold by Indian vendors in open air village markets during the week preceding the holiday. Spirits of the dead are welcomed back to their homes with beautifully decorated altars made by their loved ones. Sugar skulls, marigolds, candles, incense and special foods adorn home altars.

Families take the flowers and sugar skulls to the cemetery to decorate the tombs on November 2. Sugar skulls are colorfully decorated with icing, pieces of bright foil, colored sugars and usually bear the name of the deceased loved one being honored. They are easy to make by children and adults, and if kept dry, they can last a year.

Angela Villalba founder  of Mexican Sugar Skull.com
Angela Villalba founder of Mexican Sugar Skull.com

MexicanSugarSkull.com’s Angela Villalba is the creator of the original sugar skull mold. They have 13 wonderful high quality molds – and all the right supplies that you need to create your own fabulous skulls. Check out their kits for large groups.

Make sugar skulls as part of your family tradition to remember your dear, departed loved ones.

 

Click here to see the Angela Villalba’s video on how to make Sugar Skulls.  And, here to find step-by-step instructions  on how to make your own sugar skull.

Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls
For More Sugar Skulls – Check out this website: Celebrate the Day of the Dead.

Purr-fect Gift for a Cat Lover and Mats Jonasson Crystal Sculpture Collector

In honor of Black Cat Appreciation Day, here is an opportunity for cat lovers to treasure a keepsake that will last more than 9 lives.

Kitten with yarn - Mats Jonasson Signature Collection
The kitten with a ball of yarn is part of the Mats Jonasson Signature Collection

This is a sweet Mats Jonasson crystal paperweight sculpture, intaglio carved from a slab of Swedish crystal in the form of a kitten playing with a ball of yarn. The crisp detail reveals it is a striped tabby.

Fully signed “MJ Sweden” on the bottom.

This  work is from the Mats Jonasson Signature Collection, Made in Sweden. Lead Crystal 28% lead.  Perfect condition.  Box slightly worn as shown above.

It would make a lovely gift for the cat lover or the collector of Danish / Scandinavian Modern art glass.

Size: 3-1/4″ high by 3-3/4″ wide, depth varies.

Price is $80 plus shipping and handling.

Only ONE available.

Mats Jonasson Signature Collection - kitten and ball of yarn
A closeup of the handcrafted lead crystal sculpture of a Kitten with a ball of yarn from Mats Jonasson Signature Collection 

For more Mats Jonasson Signature Collection items, visit Al’s Neighborhood.

NOTE: This will be shipped by UPS.  Cost is based on location, shipping from the Chicagoland area.  For more information, fill out the form below.

 

 

Thank you for your cooperation and patience.

Star Quality on Oscar® Night

And the winner is…

Your Oscar® night party will gain glowing reviews with these tips from the Food Network.  Check it out…

Recreate the Hollywood Sign

Hollywood cupcakes

The Food Network has some fast and fun ideas for your Oscar party.

Grab some toothpicks and create these little letters to decorate your cupcakes. Regular or paper stock would be fine… or even seals would work for your letters.

This decorating idea can be used for other theme parties.

For a birthday, anniversary and/or retirement party simply spell out the guest of honor’s name.

Another idea is to  use copyright-free clipart instead of letters.

The possibilities are endless.

Seeing Stars

Star fruit in champagne

Celebrate with champagne and a star garnish

Another quick idea for your party is to cut your fruit garnishes in a star shape for all your drinks.

Don’t limit this to just the garnishes… serve star-shaped cheeses with your crackers as a hors d’ oeuvres.  

Nominee Napkin

Turn paper napkins into Oscar® envelopes with a gold seal, red ribbon and some clever folding: Open the napkin and lay it flat; fold in the top two corners to form a triangle. Fold the bottom edge of the napkin up until it meets the base of the triangle, then fold the top triangle down and seal.

Nominee Napkin

Impress your guests with some clever napkin folding

Step Right Up…

Create a “concession stand” for your guests.  Stock it with some Junior Mints and popcorn for that movie-going experience.

This recipe for sweet and spicy popcorn is a delicious snack perfect for parties. This recipe was featured on The Martha Stewart Show, October Fall 2007.

Concession Stand

Let’s all go to the Lobby

Martha Stewart’s Sweet & Spicy Popcorn Crunch

Yield: about 11 cups
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons safflower oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 cup salted peanuts
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with nonstick baking mats; set aside.
  2. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add 3 popcorn kernels and cover until they pop. Add remaining popcorn kernels, cover, and shake pot continuously over burner until popcorn is completely popped, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer popcorn to large bowl; add peanuts and set aside.
  4. Combine butter, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium pot over medium heat.
  5. Cook, stirring occasionally until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook, without stirring, until golden brown, about 5 minutes, swirling pot occasionally.
  6. Remove mixture from heat and quickly stir in salt and cayenne with a heatproof spatula or spoon. Immediately pour over popcorn mixture and stir to incorporate.
  7. Divide popcorn mixture evenly between baking sheets. Transfer to oven and bake, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Let cool on sheet pans before breaking apart into clusters. Store popcorn in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Oscar Cocktail Skewers

What a wonderful way to celebrate the movies!

Nuts And Bolts

My homage to this Sunday’s Oscar celebration involved cocktails and a whole lot of glitter. IMG_3971All I needed for my cocktail accessories was glue, wooden skewers, glitter and Studio DIY’s Oscar Statue Printable. IMG_3948I took a screenshot of the Oscar Statue and shrunk it in Word to the desired size for my skewers.IMG_3950Cut out your little statues.IMG_3951Brush a good amount of glue on one side of your statue.
IMG_3955Glitz him up with a significant amount of glitter!IMG_3956You will need two statues for every one skewer.
IMG_3968Using a hot glue gun, glue one statue to your wooden skewer. Then glue another statue to complete your cocktail skewer. IMG_3985Although I love the look of glitter, glittered or gold paper would be a cleanup free alternative way to create the same look. IMG_3975Cheers!

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