Party Time on the 4th

Well, I showed you my pre-party 4th of July decor, and now I’m going to show you some of the embellishments I added on the actual day. It was hot as h#ll that day – 100 degrees – so most of the party was inside except for the brave that sweated it out under the canopy outside. Shade was barely a friend!

Anyway, I started by adding some touches to the front window.

Then added some lanterns and flags to the top of the TV armoire.

Then found a free printable here for a really cute banner. I hung the banner from some twine with little clothes pins. Incidentally the former owner here had installed some hooks on each side of the fireplace so I was able to just tie the twine on.

Close up…

I found more free printables that I used as nametags for cups. I ended up reformatting a bit so that they were just the decorative half.

I also made little embellishments for the straws. They were meant to be circular, but after I tried cutting one, I realized that was not my best option. So I cut them in squares. Then used an exacto to cut two slits at the top and bottom and slip the straw through. For the life of me I can’t find my photo. Luckily my friend Nadine took this one.

I had used just regular full sheet labels for the nametags, which worked okay, but you see it was starting to peel and run because of the condensation. So I guess I needed waterproof labels? Are there such a thing?

I used the same centerpiece that I had pre-party, but added a few white carnations to round it out a bit. And put the flag that was in the front window in the dining window so it would be a nice backdrop to the table.

Then I found another graphic for food tent cards. I like to label food when someone might not know what it is. You can see them here (sort of?) on the dining table. I forgot to take a close-up pic, so you’ll have to squint to see them 🙂

All the food wasn’t out yet in this pic – like the main dishes for example. We served grilled hot dogs, brats, hamburgers and chicken, blueberry spinach salad, orzo salad, veggies and dip, chips, fruit, a family recipe just referred to as “chip dip.” My sister in law also brought a pasta salad.

I used to put the chips in a bowl with labels, but now I usually just put them out in bags (less clean up). This year I “dressed” them up a bit by putting them in a basket. It also helped them stay upright, which was a bonus!

And for dessert we had brownie bites and fruit tarts.

I actually made the brownie bites. I ended up buying brownie mix but put them in a small muffin/cupcake pan. I found out online how to change the cooking time. If you do this, p-l-e-a-s-e take it from me and have more than 2 pans. It took foreva. I had seen some of those throw-away ones at the dollar store and wished I had picked them up. Otherwise you are cooking, waiting to cool, putting on racks, and starting over and over again. Like 4 or 5 times. Sigh.

I got the tart shells in the frozen section and found a recipe for the filling online. Then topped with fruit. Of course.

I had pulled our bistro table from the kitchen and put it in the dining room to hold the napkins, silverware and Twizzlers. I added a ribbon around the silverware caddy to add some life and added a festive garland, which faded into the background after I added flowers that Nadine had brought.

As a side note to anyone who is just starting entertaining (or otherwise interested), here’s a tip I learned from a party planner: add your napkins and silverware to the end of the buffet line. If you put them up front people have a hard time serving because they are trying to balance everything (holding a plate and other stuff, while simultaneously trying to get food). Also, they sometimes take more silverware because they don’t know until the end what they really need.

Lastly, we set up a drink table in the kitchen where the bistro table usually goes. I like to separate the food and drinks for more flow. We served lemonade, soda, sangria, wine and beer. I like to make it easy for people so I usually put up a sign on what soda and beer we have. You can see there are two signs (one is just the side of the variety beer case) that I’ve stuck on with clothes pins to the tub with the drinks.

I had added another vase with carnations and flowers to that table as well.

So there you have it. Our 4th of July party-day central decor. I think it all turned out great. But most importantly, I think everyone had fun. Which is the real reason you throw a party!