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July 4th

  • Fourth of July Bracelet

    I cannot believe that it is July and in just two days it will be Independence Day. This year is just flying by so quickly. Any who! I realized I do not own anything patriotic. So I wanted to make something that I could wear on my wrist. I used some of my beads that I got at the antique mall. I had some old red, white, and blue buttons that I thought would be prefect for this project. I didn’t use a book for this I just winged it. I think that it turned out well. Here are a couple of books that I love and inspire me by Leisure Arts Easy DIY Jewelry Book 2 and DIY Jewelry Pendants. I bought some 19 gauge wire this morning at my local hardware store that has been around since before I was born. I just love going to hardware stores. I went to get a key made and came out with a new key and a couple different gauge wires. The one thing about using regular wire is that after you use it or wear it, it oxidizes and starts to lose its shine.


    The tools that I used are needle nose pliers, and wire cutters. The supplies were 6 buttons two red, two white, and two blue. I used toggle, clasp, and a few jump rings. I cute a good 5-7 inch length for both sides of the button to wrap and make an eye to join the next button or eye for the jump ring. I know that I usually use head pins but I thought I would see what the wire would look like. I like the wire. Make sure that you feel around on the end of the wire so that it doesn’t have a sharp end, or a tiny bit of an end that can get snagged on say your shorts and cannot move your arm and have to ask a stranger at the grocery store if she could unsnag you. Yes!! Yes!! This actually happened a couple weeks ago.


  • Happy 4th of July!


    I hope you're having a wonderful holiday with friends and family.  Thanks for always stopping by for crafting ideas.  Happy holidays!

    The patterns and recipes for these pictures can be found in the following links:
    The dishcloths are in Dishcloths and the dress is the Happy Day #2 pattern
    The American flag afghan is the All American Crochet Afghan pattern
    The recipe for the berry desert is in Best of Gifts of Good Taste Everyday
    Instructions for the wreath are in Deco Mesh Wreaths

  • Happy Creative 4th of July!

    Hang a wreath on the door…
    Let freedom ring…
    Eat something red, white, & blue…
    Fly your stars and stripes…
    Sport some star-spangled patriotism...
    Show your American pride…
    Why not do a little flag waving?
    All of us at Leisure Arts wish you and yours a safe and happy 4th of July holiday!
  • 4th of July Picnic Dessert

    {Hey Everybody! Our Leisure Arts Food Editor, Celia Harkey, is guest blogging again today! She’s ready for 4th of July picnic food and offering up a free Patriotic Dessert recipe for you from our Best of Gifts of Good Taste Everyday cookbook!}
    When I plan for my 4th of July picnic, I start thinking of all the wonderful garden-fresh foods we have available to us. On my list every year – sweet corn, watermelon, and fresh berries. For me, fresh berries can only mean that sweet, juicy, and oh-so-delicious combination of blueberries and strawberries—perfect for every 4th of July picnic. Add creamy dairy, and you have the recipe for our Patriotic Dessert – a stars & stripes picnic of flavors (plus throw in some hot dogs, hamburgers, and a lotta barbecued ribs)! 

    Frances, a fellow LA’er, got my taste buds in the mood for fresh berries when she showed up at my desk with a bag of freshly picked blueberries that she and her husband David had grown. Can you ask for a better treat to snack on (except a bag of strawberries would have doubled my enjoyment!)? I hope you will search out your local market in time to make the Patriotic Dessert recipe given below. Any variety of fresh berries would be scrumptious, but for my 4th of July picnic, it has to be blueberries and strawberries – going for the red, white, and blue in true holiday spirit!

    The “berrylicious” Patriotic Dessert recipe is from a creative gift-giving flip book from Leisure Arts: one side has Best of Gifts of Good Taste Everyday; the other is Best of Gifts of Good Taste Christmas. This great combination of creative ways to make tasty recipes into gifts will come in handy for all occasions. For the 4th of July or any summertime invitation, you can showcase the Patriotic Dessert in a glass trifle bowl that will double as a hostess gift. 

    2 cups whipping cream
    2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    2 quarts fresh strawberries, halved
    2 quarts fresh blueberries
    Place a large bowl and beaters from an electric mixer in freezer until well chilled.
    2. In chilled bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. In another large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and almond extract until fluffy. Gradually add whipped cream to cream cheese mixture; beat until smooth and stiff peaks form.
    3. For garnish, reserve about 20 strawberry halves and 1/2 cup blueberries.
    4. In a trifle bowl (we used a 5-inch-high x 8-inch diameter bowl) or large glass container, layer whipped cream mixture and remaining strawberries and blueberries, ending with whipped cream mixture.
    5. Garnish top with strawberry halves and blueberries to resemble a flag.
    6. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
    Yield: about 16 servings

    While we are on the subject of tasty food gifts, look at these delish Red-White-And-Blue-Muffins with a hand-painted, decorative Flag Plate.

    The muffins have lots of goodies in them, including oats and buttermilk, and have a patriotic theme with maraschino cherries, vanilla or white chocolate chips, and fresh blueberries. Instructions for making the star-spangled plate with patterns and techniques are just one of many imaginative gifts in Best of Gifts of Good Taste/Best of Gifts of Good Taste Christmas. Sections in the all-year collection are: Quick Gifts, Tasty Gift Baskets, Friendship Gifts, Gifts by the Bagful, and Holiday Gifts. The Christmas collection has: Breads and Spreads, Cakes and Pies, Candies, Cookies and Bars, Sauces, Seasonings and Mixes, and Snacks and Sips.

    Order your copy of Best of Gifts of Good Taste/Best of Gifts of Good Taste Christmas today and have a Happy Independence Day!
  • Patriotic Craft Digital Download Patterns

    With a digital download pattern, you’ve still got time to get crafty on these fun little paint, plastic canvas, no-sew, and paper craft projects for the 4th of July!
    For a fun and inexpensive holiday decor accessory or gift, try out our digital download to paint Uncle Sam for Independence Day or any other patriotic occasion. Our design calls for Delta PermEnamel and Ceramcoat paints to be used on a readily available glass ivy bowl. Pattern and full instructions are included.
    Hurray for the red, white, and blue! And for our patriotic tissue box cover, too! Designed with Smyrna Cross Stitch stars and lots of stripes, this digital download is a spirited way to salute the Fourth of July or to honor friends and family in the military. The design is stitched using worsted weight yarn and 7 mesh plastic canvas.
    These little creations are easy to make and versatile to use. Try working the digital download designs on 7 or 10 mesh plastic canvas to decorate baskets, jars, wreaths, bags, and other items. They also can be made into package ties, plant pokes, magnets, coasters, and more.
    Show your pride in the red, white, and blue with our patriotic table runner! Created using a no-sew strip piecing method, it can also be draped across the table to serve as two place mats. Digital download includes patterns and full instructions.
    Pledge your allegiance to the land that you love with a stirring collage. Fashion a landscape with bits of paper torn from out-of-date magazines or advertising circulars, then add a sprinkling of words that express what America means to you. We placed ours in a store-bought mat and frame. Digital download includes pattern and full instructions.
    Affordable and portable, our instant digital download patterns are perfect for last minute patriotic crafts!
  • Patriotic Cross Stitch Digital Download Patterns!

    Looking for a patriotic cross stitch pattern to work on while you celebrate the 4th of July? I’ve found some great cross stitch ePatterns (digital download patterns) on
    Take a peek:
    Show how proud you are to be an American with this spirited, flag-waving sampler. The design was cross stitched over two fabric threads on Tea-Dyed Irish Linen (28 count) and custom framed. The stitched wording says, “America, In God We Trust, Our Country, Our Destiny” and includes the alphabet and numbers.
    Show how proud you are to be an American! Remember those who fought to keep our flag flying with this patriotic cross stitch digital download featuring American military men from 1776, 1812, 1848, 1861, and 1900. Our design was cross stitched over two fabric threads on Antique White Lugana (25 count) and custom framed.
    Show off Baby's true colors with this star-studded bib digital download. The patriotic pleaser is a snap to whip up in three all-American colors. The design was cross stitched on the 14 count insert of a denim bib. ALTERNATE PROJECT IDEA: Stitch the design on a length of any evenweave fabric and attach to a tote bag, a lunch box, or other item. If stitching on white fabric, substitute red or blue floss for white backstitching.
    Salute the broad stripes and bright stars of Old Glory by stitching our patriotic cross stitch digital download. It's great for Independence Day or during an election year. The design was cross stitched over two fabric threads on Dirty Dublin Linen (28 count) and custom framed.
    Black fabric provides a dramatic background for this stately eagle, a proud symbol of our American heritage. The regal bird makes a fitting accent for your home on patriotic holidays -- or let your national spirit shine by displaying it all year through. The digital download was cross stitched on black Aida (16 count) and custom framed.
    Show your patriotism or support our military with this charming flag-themed cross stitch digital download. It will make the perfect addition to your July 4th decorations, too. This design was cross stitched over two fabric threads on Antique White Lugana (25 count) and custom framed.
    These patriotic cross stitch pattern are inspiring me to pull out the needle and floss for the 4th of July! I love download patterns ’cause they’re affordable, portable, have no shipping fees, and you can get started stitching almost immediately! What more could you ask for!
  • 4th of July Party Food

    {Hey Everybody! We’ve got a guest blogger here on Everyday Life at Leisure for today! Welcome Celia Harkey, our Leisure Arts Food Editor! She’s all excited about 4th of July party food, and she’s got a free Peppermint Crunch Candy recipe for you from our Celebrating Party Foods cookbook!} 
    I enjoy patriotic holidays and I’m so looking forward to next week—Independence Day or, as most of us call it, the 4th of July! I love getting out all my red, white, and blue decorations, including large and small American flags, plus numerous other patriotic items to set the 4th of July party theme.

    In addition to the patriotic sparkle, summer is a fun time to have a delicious variety of hot and cold party food to share with friends, family, and neighbors. Leisure Arts’ Celebrating cookbook series includes Celebrating Party Foods—an enjoyable assortment of foods with fun themes as well as hostess tips and decorating ideas.

    One of my favorites is a Christmas Open House celebration that you could use for 4th of July. WHHHHAAAAT??? I can just hear you now, “Christmas party food for 4th of July?” The best thing about the Celebrating Party Foods cookbook is its entertaining collection of 13 menus, each with a tasty selection of recipes for party food and Success with Parties tips. So what am I going to do to change Christmas into patriotic! It’s much easier than you might think!

    The Holiday Open House chapter, with 21 recipes, includes some of the following party food: Hot and Sweet Tidbits, Festive Cheese Ball, charcoal-grilled Marinated Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches with Jezebel Sauce, Party Meatballs, Peppermint Crunch Candy, Cheesecake Bites, Chocolate-Coconut Cream Fudge, Merry Cherry Cocktails, and ice-cold Sparkling Fruit Tea. So to transform Christmas into 4th of July, just think patriotic red, white, and blue!

    A sweet, cinnamon- and chili-flavored appetizer is Hot and Sweet Tidbits. This is a perfect crunchy snack to nibble in the cool shade with a glass of ice-cold Sparkling Fruit Tea. The tidbits are made with cereal, nuts, popcorn, and seasonings and then red and green candy-coated chocolate pieces are added before serving. To change from one season to another, just substitute summertime red, white, and blue candy-coated chocolate pieces—it’s that easy.

    The Festive Cheese Ball is a tasty blend of Parmesan and cream cheeses with bits of celery and carrots for a touch of crunch. This flavorful spread is shaped into a ball and decorated with green, red, and yellow sweet pepper cutouts to resemble a Christmas ornament. From ornament to patriotic only requires a few changes! Press the cheese mixture into a star-shaped container lined with plastic wrap. After chilling, turn the cheese mold out onto a blue serving plate and decorate with finely chopped sweet red pepper and yellow pepper stars cut out with a small star-shaped aspic or cookie cutter.

    A quick and easy treat to make is the Peppermint Crunch Candy (see recipe below). These sweets are shown in the book in red, white, and green candy cups on a Christmas-theme plate. 

    Changing them to fit into your 4th of July party takes no extra time at all! Make the candies in patriotic-themed paper candy cups.


    24 ounces vanilla candy coating
    26 vanilla sandwich cookies, coarsely chopped
    Crushed peppermint candy
    Place about 5-1/2 dozen paper candy cups on baking sheets; set aside.
    2. Melt candy coating in top of a double boiler over hot, not simmering, water. Fold cookie pieces into melted candy coating.
    3. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of mixture into candy cups. Immediately sprinkle crushed peppermint candy over tops before candy coating hardens.
    4. Chill about 15 minutes or until candy is firm.
    5. Store in a cool place.
    Yield: about 5-1/2 dozen candies

    Wasn’t it easy to make the Peppermint Crunch Candy? Then you should know that hosting parties for lots of different occasions will be a breeze for even the novice cook with this collection of 13 themed menus and 101 party food recipes. Celebrating Party Foods offers entertainment for all age groups, parties include a sweet baby shower, elegant chocolate party, holiday open house [that’s our 4th of July re-do!], wine and cheese party, bridal shower, girls’ night pasta party, casual meal for sports fans, teen fiesta, child’s birthday party, Halloween party, kids’ Christmas party, New Year’s brunch, and a book club luncheon. Some plans call for a variety of snacks and sweets, while others feature a complete dinner. Each provides a starter menu with kitchen-tested recipes plus ideas to enhance the fun. General cooking tips and advice for Success with Parties are included. Easy? And bonus—You can order the downloadable e-version of Celebrating Party Foods right now and be planning for your 4th of July party tomorrow!
  • Miscellaneous Stuff…

    Have you recovered from your 4th of July festivities yet? I spent a lot of time over the weekend listening to some really great music on the town square in Mountain View, Arkansas...

    ...hanging out in and around antique stores and flea markets (my kids were reluctant photo models)...and touring a cave at Blanchard Springs Caverns. Came home exhausted...

    Now, it’s back to business, sort of…Did you know it's National Fried Chicken Day? I missed that memo…there‘s a roast in the slow cooker at home, so somebody eat some chicken for me. Okay?

    Now, the business—I played with my Knook a little bit while we were driving. Have you checked out our new Free Sampler Scarf Knook Download Pattern? This design combines knit and crochet on the same project using a Knook. How cool is that? (And wouldn’t this scarf make a great Christmas present?) If you'd like to learn how to knit and crochet on the same project with the Knook, check out our video—How to Knook: Combining Knit and Crochet!

    Oh, and we spent a lot of time eating over the long holiday, and I didn’t have to cook any of it. I love eating out! (Just had to share this photo of the host at one of the restaurants we visited…what fun!)

  • Happy Birthday America!

    Hope you’re all set to have a fabulous 4th of July!!! Take a few minutes away from the festivities today and remember why we really celebrate Independence Day. Has the true meaning of the day become a little fuzzy over the years—kinda like my flag picture?

  • National Ice Cream Month

    Did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month? How perfect is that combined with celebrating the 4th of July?

    As a special treat, here’s a free ice cream recipe from our newest cookbook—Family Living Our Best Cookbook Collection, Book 2, that the kids are sure to love:


    1 container (16 ounces) vanilla ready-to-spread frosting
    6 sugar ice-cream cones
    Small gumdrops
    6 large scalloped-edged cookies (about 3-inch diameter)
    6 large scoops vanilla ice cream, firmly frozen
    Orange jelly beans
    Chocolate chips
    Red jelly beans
    Red string licorice

    Spread frosting on wide end of cones; roll in sprinkles. Press 1 gumdrop on point of each cone. Place 1 cookie on each of 6 serving plates. Place 1 scoop ice cream on each cookie and invert cones on top of ice cream. Working quickly, press orange jelly beans on sides of ice cream for hair. Press chocolate chips on ice cream for eyes. Cut 3 red jelly beans in half and press on ice cream for noses. Cut small pieces of licorice and press on ice cream for mouths. Place in freezer until ready to serve.

    Yield: 6 servings

    And if you’re in search of more ice cream indulgences, order yourself a copy of Celebrating Ice Cream and Cake by Avner Laskin featuring 70 recipes to inspire your ice cream cravings.

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