4th July Wrapped Wreath

If you read my post about the Layered Flag Dip, you’ll know that this weekend, we had a BBQ. But not just any old BBQ. My great friend, Bethany, comes from Pittsburgh, in the US and despite living in the UK for 10 years, still misses some of the traditions of home. So this year we decided to host a 4th July BBQ for her, partly so we could experience a true All American Cookout and partly to give her an excuse to make her favourite barbecue beans and Chocolate eclair Cake. Tastes of home on Independence Day.

So between us we had the food covered, but I wanted to try and give her a few little surprises in the decor, turning this event from just a BBQ to a real 4th July celebration. I got some flag bunting and chose a colour theme for the table, but after hitting Pinterest pretty hard, decided I really wanted a wreath to welcome Bethany and her family into our home. While wreaths for every occasion seem popular in the States, they are thin on the ground in the UK. So after searching online I found a few that I liked the look of (like this one) and decided I could make my own.

11707552_10154052337365616_3271391546770860716_n

Isn’t it pretty? I was so proud of it, that I thought I’d share just how easy it was to make.., err actually if you’re reading Bethany it was tres hard and very fancy, OK?

So I bought everything I needed to make the wreath online (from Hobbycraft as it goes, although I saw similar on eBay and Amazon).

You’ll need:

1 x 350mm polystyrene wreath
591580_1000_1_3401 ball each of red, white and blue yarn

image

1 sheet of self adhesive white felt

572837_1002_1_340I started by marking three inch sections around the wreath, for the red and white ‘stripes’, leaving almost a quarter of the wreath for the blue. Then I started wrapping. I attached the loose ends of yarn with double sided tape, but you may find another way works for you.

I found it easiest to cut sections of yarn before wrapping it round the wreath and be prepared for the bottom of the section to be narrower than the top. This meant I either had to overlap some of the yarn, or ensure I pushed it closer together at the bottom of the section as I went along.

Gather the yarn at the bottom of the section as it's shorter than the top.

Gather the yarn at the bottom of the section as it’s narrower than the top.

If I’d had a child free environment it probably would have taken less time to do, but even so it only took a couple of evenings wrapping, alternating red and white and finally the navy blue.

image

I went back and redid the little bit of white that’s coming lose in bottom section, but that was the beauty of this, as each section was small, if you messed up, it took very little effort to put it right

You could use anything you have to hand to make the stars; buttons, stickers, craft shapes. As it was, I had none of these so bought a sheet of self adhesive felt. I used one of the boy’s small cookie cutters as a template for the star, drawing the shape on the paper side of the felt and cutting it out. Once I had the star shape, I just peeled off the backing and stuck it to the blue yarn. Et voil!

image

I didn’t hang it on the actual door itself as we already had a nail sticking out of the wall at perfect height next to the door. As there was a breeze up when I put it out, I stuck the nail into the polystyrene itself to secure it. Perfect.

Bethany loved the decorative touches and particularly the wreath! Woop woop. Get me! Seriously though I’m so glad I took the time to make it and realising how easy it was has made me want to make wreaths for other occasions. Why just Christmas?

Do you use wreaths for occasions other than Christmas?

I took it down from the door once the party was over, but it's so nice I can't get rid of it just yet. I may even keep  it for next year ;)

I took it down from the door once the party was over, but it’s so nice I can’t get rid of it just yet. I may even keep it to use next year 😉

 

Layered Flag Dip Recipe

We don’t have a summer holiday the way the Americans do. Our weather is so unpredictable, even in the summer, that BBQs tend to be last minute things, with no planning involved. So when my American friend Bethany suggested we have a Summer BBQ months ago it was actually really exciting to plan. Weather be damned! And when she suggested having it on 4th July, to celebrate Independance Day, well, I hit the Pinterest with a vengeance.

Having used Pinterest for Oscar’s birthday party recently, I was aware how bonkers they go for party theming stateside, so was unsurprised to see how many ideas there were for a 4th July shindig. I found a red, white and blue version of everything you could possibly need or want at your patriotic BBQ, some of it really awesome looking, some incredibly tacky. Then I saw this recipe for a layered dip. Designed to look like the American flag! It was just so, well, American. I knew straight away I had to make it as a centrepiece for my first all American cookout.

Tex Mex Layered Dip. Flag decoration optional!

Tex Mex Layered Dip. Flag decoration optional!

It was actually incredibly easy to make, but looked amazing and tasted fantastic.

image

Ingredients

  • 1 can Refried Beans
  • 1 packet Taco Seasoning
  • 1 pot salsa
  • 1 pot olives (about 100g)
  • Half an iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 bag of grated cheese (I used Monterey Jack, but any mild cheddar would do)
  • 1 large tub of Philidelphia
  • 1 large pot of sour cream
  • 1 large/beef tomato

If you want to do the flag decoration then also:

  • Handful of Blue Tortilla chips
  • 2/3 slices of mozerella or other pale coloured cheese
Blue Tortilla Chips. Not dyed, but made from actual blue corn. I got these from Ocado but you can find them in many large supermarkets.

Blue Tortilla Chips. Not dyed, but made from actual blue corn. I got these from Ocado but you can find them in many large supermarkets.

Method

Mix the taco seasoning with the Refried beans and spread the mixture over the base of a large rectangular dish

image

Cover the beans with the salsa, cut the olives in half and sprinkle over the salsa.

image

Top with the shredded iceberg lettuce and the cheese

image

Mix together the Philadelphia with the sour cream.

If you’re going to make this into a flag, then use a small amount of the cream cheese mix to make a small square in the the top left hand corner of the dish.

Blitz the blue corn chips in the food processor (or otherwise crush). Sprinkle the crumbs onto the square of cream cheese mix.

image

Then put the rest of the cream cheese mix in a freezer bag or a piping bag (depending on how fancy you are 😉 ), snip the end off and pipe stripes across the dish.

image

Chop the tomato finely and fill the gaps inbetween the cream cheese mix.

I had a tiny star cutter (thank you the boy’s playdoh box) but you could just use a straw a make dots in place of stars. Cut them out of the mozerella (the sheet slices, not the fresh stuff) and pop them on the blue chip crumbs.

Et voila!

image

Serve with the remainder of the blue corn chips or any other tortilla chips you like. Or a fork. It’s that good!

image

Bethany takes an inaugural dip!

Obviously, we would have less need for a dip that looks like an American flag, in the UK, but I totally urge you just to make a stripy one instead. Or if you’re the crafty type, how about a Union Flag?

Let me know if you have a go at this. I’d love to hear if you like it as much as I, and my guests, did.

xx

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Free From Farmhouse