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Fourth of July Celebration; Day One…Decorations

What’s more fun than more parties!?! There’s nothing more All American than commemorating Independence Day. I have an exciting week planned, and I can’t wait to share with you the details for a fantastic Fourth. Each and every day I will demonstrate my ideas for divine decorations and delectable dishes. Actually, we enjoyed a fabulous Father’s Day dinner last weekend. My family was kind enough to indulge me by celebrating the “Faux of July,” which made it possible to bring this to you today…….

We had so much fun with our Memorial Day celebration, and we could certainly have used the same patriotic elements again this go around, but I wanted to show you how you could mix it up a little bit.

I would have loved for us to dine al fresco, but Mother Nature has been so darn unpredictable (that’s not true, she’s very predictable….rain everyday.). We settled for cocktails and appetizers on the deck, which was perfectly pleasant…..and dry.

My love affair with fabric, texture and color lead me to start, as it usually does, with a table covering. For Memorial Day I used a fantastic quilt as a tablecloth. Today, I was inspired to use this very bold, red tablecloth with stripes made out of polka dots. Great attention to detail. Tablecloths are another of my collecting obsessions. This one is great because it is suitable for so many occasions; Valentines Day, Independence Day, Christmas Day and any other day you’re moved to entertain in a sea of red.

Layers just add dimension and interest, so I always use a placement over my tablecovering. Here I selected a dusty blue (with a nice little tone on tone stripe) in homage to the Red, White and Blue. I topped that with a silver leaf charger, with a hobnail trim (which is a subtle tie in to the dots, in the stripe, of my tablecloth), reminiscent of the sparkle of…..sparklers! I pulled out these great red, stoneware dinner plates. I like the raised scroll detail. As always, I am taken with the way a snappy dessert plate pulls the theme of a table setting together (kind of like a great necklace or bracelet). For years I have been collecting a mish mash of blue and white plates that I use for appetizers and desserts. My collection stands at about 50, and I’ve used them all together, and their color combination is what unifies them, not the pattern. It’s just sort of groovy and eclectic. Here I enlisted the aid of two different patterned Spode plates and they look great (I alternated the pattern at every other place setting).

I am morally opposed to paper products while entertaining, but this was an exception. My menu consists of two potentially, very messy food items; ribs and buttery corn on the cob. Having heart palpitations because the good linen napkins are going to be ruined is no way to go through dinner, so I picked up these sturdy, 2 ply paper napkins and gave each guest two. So much more relaxing for all concerned! Red handled flatware showed off quite nicely against the blue napkins and placemats. You know I am a Target junkie, and I found these cute acrylic tumblers for $1.99 a piece. They’re perfect with their rows of blue stars (stars and stripes forever…). Each glass held a patriotic pinwheel.

Alas, the centerpiece. A low arrangement was in order, as I wanted to be sure we could see each other across the table. I set out five, simple clear glass vases and tied a red, white and blue wired edged, plaid ribbon around each one, for a little slice of Americana. The stripes on the tablecloth are white, so I was determined to find something sweet like white daisies. I raced and ran from floral department to floral department when Amanda and I popped in for a visit to our favorite Costco. Disappointed because there were no white flowers, I was about to settle on red roses, which were really much to formal for the occasion, when my gal pointed out bouquets of gorgeous blue and white hydrangeas. She is so smart! We brought them home, trimmed the stems so they would form a luscious, full cluster. Lined up together, they were stunning. To complete the look, I placed red and blue tin stars amongst the vases, and for a little romantic candlelight, resurrected blue and white votive holders to coordinate with my Spode plates. The table was lovely!

For this party, my buffet was really just set up for appetizers, but I still wanted it to make a statement. Pattern and color always sets the tone, so I was excited to use this classic, flag, throw size, quilt as a topper (I’ve had it in my collection for so long, I don’t recall from whence it came. Target or Kohl’s would be a pretty safe bet.). My four appetizer offerings took center stage. Elevation always makes for a pleasing, and user friendly food display. A pewter, hob nail trim, pedestal cake plate stood proudly in the back. On either side (and slightly to the front) of the highest point, I wanted to present two additional, raised appetizers, without being so un-original and boring as to incorporate two more cake plates. How cute are these storage bins embellished with red and blue stars? They were open at the top, so I simply flipped them upside down, and voila….two tall, patriotic, colorful, pattern-ful stands. Flat on the table, lined up across from the tall, pedestal cake plate, is a slate cheese board (that my friend Mrs. Lilly found for me). It’s fantastic! People are forever curious about the flavors in beautiful gourmet cheeses. The slate cheese board offers a smart solution. With a piece of chalk, you can simply write down the sorts of cheeses you are serving. Genius!

As the More is More Mom®, I could never leave a quiet, empty space, so I am inclined to fill in every nook and cranny! In the center of the table, I resurrected the Liberty Bell that I used for Memorial Day, and next to that I placed a crystal bowl full of fresh blueberries! On one side of my Kitchen island, I displayed two tall arrangements of all American sun flowers. They are so happy! For nearly an eternity I have had these two tall galvanized cylinders which nest inside wicker, handled baskets. They remind me of a picnic, which is perfect for the 4th! I stuck two American flags in each for a dramatic backdrop. This may sound crazy, but I found this whimsical bicycle at my grocery store. Inspiration is all around us, we just have to be open to it…… I could easily have stuck potted plants at the base, and at the top, but I had so many beautiful flowers already. Instead, I filled one basket with limes and one with lemons for an Earthy, organic quality.

On the opposite side of the island, I wanted something lively to fill the space. I knew I needed some height to mimic the other end of the buffet. At my Memorial Day bash, this red, rustic urn took center stage filled with mums, but today, it was the perfect place to rest a large, red, white and blue beach ball (height, color and shape…..a three-for). To the left, I placed a crystal bowl full of cherries and to the right a big, crazy pig with a rooster on top that sported the colors of the day. I scattered white tea light candles around the buffet for a festive glow and we are ready to party!

I hope you will be inspired to get creative and set a beautiful table and buffet for your Independence Day party this coming weekend.

Tomorrow: Dinner Menu and recipes….guaranteed to be finger licking good!


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