How to Style Patriotic Shelves for Cheap!

Today I’d like to share the patriotic shelf decor in my kitchen. Last fall my sweet husband made me these great shelves out of beams he removed from our old farmhouse fixer upper. I really LOVE them! They are American Chestnut… just beautiful! And it has been such a joy to play at decorating them for the seasons. (Check out how I styled them for Valentine’s Day.)

I styled them easily for fall and Christmas because I have a lot of decorations for those (though apparently I didn’t blog them. Sorry! I’ll try to do better this year.) But I’ve found that I don’t have much in the way of decor for the patriotic part of summer. While I’d love to go out and get everything I “need” for an amazingly decorated patriotic house, it’s just not practical. In reality, most of my house isn’t far beyond demolition and begs more for tidiness than for decoration. These shelves are a cute little space where I can bring in some seasonal fun. And I try to do it for as little money as possible.

My picks

Starting from left to right, I found that medal, lacy looking bucket at Joann Fabrics in the spring collection 50+% off during a big Easter sale this spring. I’ve had something similar on my list for a while, so I spent the last of a gift card on it. I picked white over the mint green or pink so that I can use it throughout the year and not worry about storing it. It will probably travel around the house for various seasons and holidays.

Patriotic Shelf Decor for my summer kitchen and 4th of July

The artwork in the middle is one I created this year. (Head over here to grab up your own free copy!) I’m really happy with how it brings a summery feel to the kitchen.

The little jar with flowers in it I “stole” from my mom’s stash of little jars she keeps “just ’cause they are cute and we may want them for something.” And the flowers my 11 year old grows in our garden. Whenever they get tired looking, we just pick some new ones and bring them in. The colors are perfect! Forgive the pollen around them on the shelf… we can’t see it from where we stand. Apparently the shelves need a dusting. 🙂

And that cute star is another new purchase ($3ish). Our favorite grocery store, Wegmans, is selling them this spring for the summer season. It’s melamine, which I don’t usually use, but I just bought the one for putting on my shelf. (One or two little new things each year isn’t too bad on the budget.)

Patriotic Shelf Decor for my summer kitchen and 4th of July

Negative Space is okay

I’ll admit, I was starting to fret over not having “enough” to put on my shelves. Once I brought out everything I had for the Memorial Day/ Independence Day season, I was left with a sparse feel. What I wanted was a little layering. Instead of just laying everything out in a line to fill the space, I put some things behind and others in front. And wala, I didn’t have anything on the bottom shelf. So I did one more look around my kitchen.

Patriotic Shelf Decor for my summer kitchen and 4th of July

There was that single red check napkin and a couple of little dessert bowls from my new “fancy” dish set. I put them by themselves on the bottom shelf and the negative space beside it has really grown on me. I think it gives it a clean de-cluttered feel without feeling naked or bare.

The take away

When I begin styling, I start by gathering anything I have (however little or much) that may fit the theme. For the patriotic theme, I pulled together anything in red, white and blue. Different textures, heights, and thicknesses help. You don’t have to use it all, but just seeing things together may inspire you. If something doesn’t fit, put it away again.

Begin by putting the biggest items up first, then the middle sized things, and finish out with the smaller ones. Keep moving them around until it makes you smile. Sometimes this may take a couple days of playing with it. That’s okay too.

How do you style your favorite seasonal space for summer?

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Patriotic Shelf Decor for my summer kitchen and 4th of July

Gathering here.

Every Baby Needs a Party!

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A “Snowbaby” sprinkling table at our church that is up right now.

As our family grew larger, we occasionally got the feeling that there were those around us who were not so excited we were having another baby… again.  Perhaps it was hormones on my part, perhaps it was insensitivity on the part of others (probably some of both), but I didn’t always feel like everyone was celebrating with us when we announced the birth of a new baby.

With six kids and only one baby shower, I’ve developed a firm belief that every baby needs a party!  The presents aren’t important either (though who doesn’t need diapers wrapped in pretty paper?)  It’s the thought… the celebrating with the family.  The feeling that someone else is excited about the new life God has blessed your family with!  Well I am that person.  I am excited!  Every time!

I do this in two ways.  First off, one of my ministries at church is “party planner”.  I get the beautiful joy of planning most of the bridal and baby showers for the people in our church (I try not to get too disappointed when someone close to the family has aspirations of doing it themselves.)

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A diaper “cake” for a “Daddy’s Little Hunting Buddy” baby sprinkling at church last summer.

This is all well and good, but, unfortunately, the church policy is to throw a baby shower for the first baby of the family.  This bothered me for a long while before I figured out a solution.  I wanted to throw a party for every baby, but the church didn’t have the budget for it and neither did we.

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A baby sprinkling table set up at church to collect gifts for a new baby last fall.  The paintings are mine.

Years later, we came up with the idea of baby sprinklings.  So now, when a new baby is born, I design an “invitation” that is emailed to everyone at church.  It includes a new family picture and the birth information with an explanation of what the sprinkling is, all decorated up with whatever theme I’ve chosen.  I’ve done half a dozen or more in the last couple years and they have been a blessing to the families, the church family and to me.

Just yesterday I put up a “Snowbaby” themed sprinkling table at church.  It will be up to gather gifts for the next few Sundays.  This time I included a “snowbaby” diaper cake and an original illustration that shows us all just where snow babies come from.

The other thing we do as a church when a baby is born is to take meals to the family.  I try to sign up in one of the first slots so I can be sure they don’t get missed (I’ve been the recipient of a lot of meals in my time, especially since we got meals for a full month while working through some feeding struggles after my last baby was born, so I always enjoy paying it forward!)  I also try to step it up a bit.  I don’t just bring a meal… I bring a party.  🙂

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Labels I made to adorn the party food I delivered for a family last summer.

It’s not that much more work, and the impact is fabulous!  First, I pick a theme.  Sometimes I use inspiration from the family, other times I pick on my own.  The pic above shows the labels I made (with sharpie on card stock — yes, you can do this too!) for one such “party” I delivered last summer.  Baby was born the last days of June, so I figured a 4th of July party was due!  I even included some sparklers we had laying around for the older sisters.

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These are some pics of the party I delivered last month.  I picked a gingerbread baby theme, sketched the labels and illustrated a card and painted them in quickly on card stock.  Colored pencils, crayons or markers would have worked too!  (clip art and printed labels are just as cute)

I found a recipe on Pinterest for gingerbread playdoh, so I made some up, enough for their little girl and my little ones.

Put it in a recycled jar, sketch and color in a label and tie on a cookie cutter with some scrap fabric and it was the cutest touch to the party.  I called it a party favor. 🙂

Families are always overwhelmed by the little bit extra!  🙂  And that always makes it worth it to me!

Yesterday morning as I was leaving church, a mama of three boys handed me a thank you note.  I read it while waiting for the car to warm up.  Inside she thanked me for “making each new baby feel so important and welcomed.”  That is exactly why I do what I do!

Do you do something special to celebrate the birth of a new baby in your circle?

Note: please don’t skip taking a meal to families who have just had a baby because you don’t have time or resources to dress them up.  They will be just as appreciative that you took the time to bring them a meal!

 

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