Gather your friends and use these patriotic decorating, entertaining, and recipe ideas for this year's 4th of July celebration. From festive star banners and refreshing watermelon coolers to raveworthy party favors and more, your 4th of July party is bound to be summer's biggest shindig.View Slideshow
Tell people of your devotion all year with these sweet crafts that say "I Love You"
Make a jar of love notes for that special someone. On pieces of pretty patterned paper, jot down things you love about that person or special memories you've had together. Make a handwritten label to adhere to the front and tie it all up with a bow.
Use purchased candy bars as a starting point. Personalize them with scrapbook papers, ribbons, buttons, beads, and stickers. Use decorative-edge scissors to add details, and cut out embellishments to top them off. Sew a red button on one and tie it up with string.
Draw a simple heart shape to use as your pattern, and make a copy. Divide one pattern into sections. Cut one piece from each of four coordinating fabrics, adding a 1/4-inch seam allowance to each piece. Piece the fabrics together to form the front of your heart. Select several buttons and sew them to the front. Using the other pattern piece, cut out a whole heart from fabric for the backing, adding a 1/4-inch seam allowance. With wrong sides together, sew around the edge of your heart, leaving a small opening. Turn right side out. Stuff with polyester fiberfill, and stitch the opening closed. Bend a 4-inch piece of silver wire into a swirl, poking and turning one end into the top of your heart as a hanger.
Create a fun paper-pieced mailbox on your scrapbook page to hold hidden journaling. Attaching a mailbox flag with a brad and creating a mailbox door that opens gives the piecing an interactive quality. Include mementos in scrapbook pages whenever possible. Make a simple pocket along the bottom of your scrapbook page from blue cardstock, which gives you a home for valentines.
Add a sentiment to your piecing by printing it on pink cardstock before cutting the heart. Dress up the owl by adding googly eyes and a gem-and-flower combo.
Make a page that can be displayed as art. This scrapbook page layers papers with zigzag stitches. The red piece at the bottom is left open at its top to form a pocket for holding notes and drawings from a child. Display on an easel or hang on the wall.
Turn a collection of random heart embellishments into a piece of artwork. Start with a 9x12-inch piece of plain chipboard. Add blocks of patterned paper and embellishments to each square. The materials vary from chipboard to felt to paper but are held together by the unifying heart theme. Set the finished artwork on an easel for display.
Layer strips of patterned paper and stitches to create dimension on this love note. A ribbon bow tied around the card front coupled with a thread tied at the front of the button accent complete the design. Turn notebook paper on its side and use the rough edge to create a decorative border on your card.
Make your card sparkle by embellishing with gems. Rhinestones placed in a line draw attention to the greeting, and a trio of jewel hearts adds color and dimension. Get a special handmade feel by using notebook paper as a base and adding simple sayings in a typewriter font. (You can change the opacity of your text in image-editing software to get the faded look.)
For a quick gift, try this recycled bottle project. Wrap a tall jar in patterned paper and add chipboard letters to spell out "for you." Layer pink buttons and wire them together to form small flowers for your bouquet. Fill the jar with candy, twist the finished flowers together, and insert them into the jar. Finish with a pretty bow.
Add a little heart you can see all year. Paint drawer knobs with cream acrylic paint; let dry. Add small jewels, found at crafts stores, in the shape of a heart and attach the finished knobs to a drawer.
Paint a ready-made frame bubble-gum pink for this little bit of sweetness. After the paint is dry, lightly sand the edges for a worn look. Paint wooden hearts red and a darker shade of pink. Drill two small holes for wire to be threaded through. Shape wire into curlicues, and glue the hearts to the frame.
A painted 4x4-foot sheet of fiberboard, found at a hardware store, mimics a piece of cardstock for this giant scrapbook-page-turned-wall-art. On your fiberboard base, create a patterned background with squares of patterned paper. Print your photo in sections or find a location that prints large-format photos. Mount the picture on a stretched canvas. Add oversize chipboard letters. Use a photocopier to enlarge elements from your patterned paper. Cut out and assemble as embellishments.
Create a photo display to show your family how much you adore them. Size and print photos to fit on chipboard heart shapes; then trim away the excess and add patterned paper and embellishments. Display the hearts on a photo holder or put magnets on the back to adorn your fridge.
Draw a simple heart shape about 16 inches wide. Or fold a piece of paper in half and cut out half a heart; then open the paper to reveal a symmetrical heart. Use this as your pattern to cut out two identical heart shapes from two different fabrics. Cut a 6-inch square from coordinating fabric. Turn under all four edges 1/4 inch, press, and topstitch each edge. Pin the pocket to the middle of your heart-shape front piece. Sew around three edges, leaving the top open to hold love notes. With right sides facing, sew around the edges of the pillow with a 1/4-inch seam allowance; leave an opening for turning. Turn right side out, and stuff with fiberfill. Sew the opening closed.
The gift of books is made extra special with a handmade bookmark. To make this bookmark, cut a rectangle from cream-color wool felt and trace a heart on the back; cut out the shape with scissors or a heart-shape punch. Glue the bookmark onto red wool felt and trim the edges with scalloped-edge scissors. For the stitched bookmark, use disappearing ink to mark stitches and then stitch along the lines using embroidery floss. Cut or punch a heart from red felt, and glue it on the front.
Clip a sweet surprise onto a lunch bag filled with treats. Use pinking shears to cut a scalloped border around red cardstock. Top with a contrasting piece of paper and attach foil-wrapped chocolates with double-sided tape.
Use patterned tissue paper to make this sweet ruffle layered under chipboard hearts. Cut a strip of tissue paper about 2 feet long. Fold the tissue paper back and forth to create a ruffle; glue it in a heart shape atop a box lid. Add a chipboard heart and layers of hearts cut from paper. Apply a rub-on message to two smaller chipboard hearts.
Super simple to make in multiples, these cute little heart frames are the perfect Valentine's Day handout. Cut a heart shape from construction paper. Using double-stick tape, fasten a photo in the middle of the heart. Punch a hole at each side of the heart and slide a pencil through them.
Send greetings of love with these paper-covered mailing tubes filled with candy hearts. Cover small mailing tubes with patterned scrapbook paper and a sticker name label for the address. Fill with candy treats.