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Stars and Stripes Forever

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We had some company over earlier this week, so I took it as an excuse to throw an impromptu backyard party. Setting a nice scene for the people I love always puts a big smile on my face (and theirs too).

I planned and set a Fourth of July table which is a little early, but hey, I’m a blogger! I figured it would be more helpful to give you guys some ideas before the Fourth instead of after. My friends and family are used to these quirks. Besides, it’s not as bad as when I would be designing Christmas cards at this time of year for my stationery shop!

I was pretty excited about the decorating possibilities of our our new table. The old one was in such bad shape that the only option was to cover the whole thing with a tablecloth.

I tucked a handful of little American flags into a pitcher along with one large one. Eleanor and August, like most kids, were happy to each have their own flag to wave after dinner.

I also made some cute paper flags out of decorative scrapbooking paper. I used bamboo skewers for the larger sizes, and I attached the smaller ones to toothpicks. I set the table with our everyday silverware and tucked a little flag under the fork and knife, on top of a white napkin. I used my vintage Star Glow dinnerware as salad plates because they reminded me of fireworks, and I set them on top of plain white dishes.

The red and white striped runner on the table was a no-sew project. I cut the length to size, then tucked in the edges along the sides. Eventually I’ll hem it so that it will hold up in the wash, but if you’re in a pinch, nobody’s really going to notice.

I wanted the flowers to be mostly white, so I picked up some hydrangeas and a ton of little daisies. I did put a couple of blue delphinium in with the hydrangeas, but didn’t go for full red, white, and blue floral arrangements. I put the hydrangeas and delphinium in a low vintage bowl with some greenery; the stems were kept in place by first criss-crossing clear tape along the top.

I tucked a few of my paper flags in to the centerpiece, but the daisies were cut short and gathered into little bunches. I used whichever small glass vases I could find for them, then tied them all together (literally) by tying ribbon around each one. Some had wide navy grosgrain and others had thin navy and white polka dot ribbon, all from the local craft store. I also added some of the wide ribbon to the handles of my pitchers and tied them into bows.

Seeing everyone gathered around a table that I’ve decorated for them always makes me happy. Are you planning anything yet for the Fourth?

Country Fare Vintage Dishes

Today is our last day in the Wisconsin family cabin, and we’ll be driving back to Chicago soon. The surroundings are beautiful, but there is just as much enjoyment to be found in the home’s details. These are the plates we ate off of last night for dinner.

They remind me of Heath Ceramics’ original Coupe line from the 1940s. I’ve shown their studio mug before, and that heritage Coupe line has long been at the top of my wish list.

The collection of Country Fare dishes here at the cabin have been in my father-in-law’s family for decades. The line was discontinued in the mid-1950s, but they pop up on eBay and are available through Replacements.

Aren’t they beautiful? They’re so obviously handmade, heavy, with imperfect edges and subtle ridges where people smoothed the clay with their fingers.

Family Movie Night (at Home)

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Brandon and I like to have stay-at-home movie nights with the kids. We gather snacks, dim the lights, and pile the couch with pillows. The other night, I spelled out the evening’s activity with our magnetic letters, and Eleanor got very excited when I told her what the words said. “Movie night!? YAY!” She ran to her brother, yelling “August, it’s movie night!”

It doesn’t take much to make an ordinary evening special. It’s in the little details, like jelly beans in a pretty bowl, getting drinks from a dispenser, and eating popcorn out of fun containers.

We all help to choose movies, but some are more family-friendly than others. (“All right, Ratatouille it is, kids. Let’s save Crank 2 for another day.”)

Do you ever make ordinary nights into something a little more special?

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