The patriotic bunting that festoons the porch railings of historic homes on the 4th of July always seems so old-timey and charming that when I saw all this red, white, and blue glory at Hobby Lobby, I knew that it would be coming home with me. Unfortunately, I do not have a historic home. Still, I could envision these swags of Americana hanging on the railing around my back deck, providing a perfect backdrop for an Old-Fashioned 4th of July Tablescape.
In keeping with the nostalgic theme, I layered my outdoor table with two different white vintage tablecloths. I liked how it looked, but I felt that it would look better with more color, and I wished I had a red, white, and blue tablecloth. Since I didn’t have one, I used one of my favorite decorating-on-the-cheap items: ribbon. I have been collecting ribbon for a long time, and I have a ton of it. I come by this addiction naturally, as my grandmother had a similar ribbon obsession. I know this because I found a huge box of grosgrain, satin, and paper treasure in her basement when she died. Diving into my hoard, I pulled out several spools of red and blue ribbon. I then placed them in a criss-cross pattern on the table and voilá; I had a colorful tablecloth.
My plain red napkins were not cutting it, so I decided to zhush them up by displaying them in patriotic rosette napkin rings that I made using craft paper, plastic shower curtain rings, and, you guessed it — more ribbon.
Patriotic Rosette Napkins Ring
12″ x 12″ patterned scrapbook paper
8 1/2″ x 11″ red, white, and blue scrapbook paper
Red, white, and blue 1″ grosgrain ribbon
Blue 1″ blue grosgrain ribbon
Plastic shower curtain ring
Hot glue gun
Cut a 1 1/2″ x 12″ strip of scrapbook paper and fold it in 1/4″ accordion folds.
Join ends together and glue seam.
Flatten out the circle and hold it together to make a tight rosette.
Glue punched out circles to the front and back of the rosette to keep it together and provide stability.
Glue an additional smaller punched circle and star to the front to decorate.
Hot glue 2 3″ pieces of red, white, and blue ribbon to the back of the rosette.
Place a drop of hot glue on the shower curtain ring and adhere the end of a 12″ piece of blue ribbon.
Wrap the ribbon around the ring, pulling taught as you go until the ring is covered, and hot glue the end in place.
Hot glue rosette to the ribbon-covered shower curtain ring.
I used a very eclectic and strangely multi-national (given my Americana theme) mix of dishware for the table setting. I first set my table with heavy pewter chargers that my mother bought years ago in Mexico. I then placed red “Betsy” Pioneer Woman dinner plates on top of the chargers, followed by antique Japanese Blue Willow bread and butter plates. To complete my plate-a-palooza, I placed small red and white striped berry bowls from Michaels on top of the whole shebang. Blue glass hobnail goblets and my everyday stainless cutlery round out the place setting.
I pulled out two blue transferware pitchers for additional vintage charm, the larger of which is an antique English lemonade pitcher.
I also used two large transferware platters, which serve as the bases for candles in hurricanes. Not being able to leave well enough alone, I adorned the bottoms of the hurricanes with wreaths of red-dyed, dried flowers.
For a floral arrangement, I used a blue and white footed Chinese bowl filled with red, white, and blue flowers–red tulips, blue hydrangeas and delphiniums, and white peonies and stock. To top it off and to gild the patriotic lily, I then added three American flags.
As I started detailing the items that I used for my Old-Fashioned 4th of July Tablescape, I was dismayed that most of the pieces are not American at all, but rather, they are from all over the world. But then I realized that America is, and always has been a melting pot. And that bringing different people, or in this case, plates together to make something new and unique, is a quintessentially American idea. Having made my peace with my international American 4th of July table, I can’t wait to sit on the deck, sip lemonade, eat fried chicken, and watch the fireworks.
Happy 4th of July!
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