You don’t have to spend a lot of time and money to make your place look festive for the 4th of July holiday. You don’t even have to be good at making stuff. These tips will make even the most artistically challenged Americans look like a patriotic design expert.
Independence Day Banner
This banner looks great indoors or out. All you need to make this adorable decoration is:
Red, white and blue napkins (paper or fabric)
Small binder clips
Any kind of twine or string
Measure the twine. I wanted my banner to run the length of the porch, so I brought the twine outside, ran it along the length of the railing, and cut—no rulers or tape measures required.
Hang the twine on some small wire nails (I used the existing nails usually reserved for my Christmas lights).
Unfold the napkin from the square it’s normally folded into, and refold it into a triangle.
Using small binder clips (you could even use paper clips if you don’t have binder clips), clip the napkins onto the twine. I overlapped the edges of my napkins to cut down on the number of clips needed.
If using several different styles of napkin, alternate them for a festive look. This banner is so easy you could have the kids do it while you’re grilling your feast!
This project is even simpler than the last.
I would love to hang an American flag on the porch, but I just don’t have one big enough…so to make the house look festive, simply fill some decorative pots with soil (you could use galvanized buckets or window boxes too), and plant a little flag. These look so cute on the front steps!
Glow Stick Lanterns
If you’re planning on having your afternoon barbeque run into the night, these lanterns are the perfect decoration to come home to after the fireworks.
Simply, roll a pice of waxed paper or parchment paper into a drinking glass (or any kind of clear cylinder).
At dusk, unwrap a glow stick and bend it to crack it which activates it. Then place it into the glass. You’ll have a few hours of glowing light without using any fire.
Martha Washington’s Shrub: drink like the founders did
This recipe takes a little time an effort, but it can be done way in advance, so by the time your 4th of July party rolls around, you’ll be all set for cocktail hour.
I first had this drink in Philadelphia at the City Tavern which has been in business since Paul Revere road to Philadelphia to bring the news of the British government closing the port of Boston.
Apparently, Martha Washington used to make this cocktail. Usually it is made with rum, but the City Tavern also offers it mixed with champagne.
The raspberries give it a fruity flavor, while the vinegar keeps it from being too sweet. Mixing the berries with the vinegar and sugar helps to preserve them which is probably why it was so appealing in colonial times. Plus, the syrup probably helped to cut through the strong taste of the homemade alcohols of the day.
To make the raspberry syrup you will need:
apple cider vinegar
I had use use frozen berries (10-oz. package) because the berries haven’t quite ripened in my part of the country yet.
Use just enough vinegar to cover the berries so they are not floating. Let sit overnight.
Strain the mixture through cheesecloth.
Squeeze as much liquid as you can from the cheesecloth. Discard the remaining berries and cloth (I threw mine in the compost pile).
Measure the amount of liquid. You will need one part liquid to one part sugar. Since I had about two cups liquid, I needed about 2 cups sugar.
In a saucepan, add the raspberry liquid and sugar. Stir to dissolve and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes.
The mixture will reduce to a nice syrup.
Let cool and bottle or jar the mixture. Store in a cool, dry place.
For the champagne cocktail, mix one part syrup to four parts water or seltzer water. Pour the diluted syrup into a glass a little less than halfway to the top. Then, fill the rest of the glass with champagne.
For the rum drink add two shots of rum to the diluted syrup and water mixture and serve over ice.
This is a tasty drink that should be able to bridge any political divide. Happy Independence Day everyone!
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