3 MORE Simple Ways to Make Your 4TH of July Celebration Out of This World

Okay, so if you read my last post but you’re still struggling in terms of decorations for this last minute shindig, I’ve got you covered. In this post I’m going to cover three MORE ways you can turn your last minute party planning into the celebration of your dreams; home decor style! Amaze your parents, in-laws and the general population with your mad skills, while keeping to an extremely small budget. Let’s get started. Round two!

1: Let’s start big and work our way down, shall we?

If you’re like anyone else in this country, you’re probably throwing your party in the backyard, or at least at your local public park. Besides the sweets, everyone knows decorations are what’s going to separate you from the rest and may just save you from the unyielding stink eye of your evil mother in law.

Things to try: Painting or sifting stars into the grass.

What you’ll need:

  • Cardboard
  • Box cutter or X-Acto knife (or a pair of scissors if you’re a klutz like me)
  • Flour or non-toxic spray paint
  • A wee bit of patience

Grab one of your old moving or grocery boxes, break out the box cutter or an x-acto knife and get to work. Cut out one or two different size five point stars (or six if you’re in the Halloween spirit already) and lay them at random points across the yard. Shop72 Cardboard and Box CutterNow, here’s where personal preference comes into play. You can either use cake flour and simply sift the stars into the cutouts but, this provides a bit of a mess to clean up later on because you’ll eventually have to sweep the flour up. (Or you can simply let it blow away, although I don’t know how your neighbors are going to feel about that.) Or you can go my personal favorite route and use non-toxic spray paint from your local hardware store. It’s a bit of a quicker job too, and you won’t have to worry about a mucky, flour-y mess if it decides to rain. Just make sure to remind the pets and the kids that eating spray painted grass isn’t a good idea. Once the stars are all painted (or sifted) into the grass, stand back and admire your Shop72.com spray painted yard stars.work. The best part about this decorating tip is, you can pretty much leave it there all season long, or at least until the yard needs another trim. Every day is a Shop72.com Kids love Painted Lawn Starswonderful time to be patriotic. And, not to mention, the kids will absolutely love the look and feel of their starry new backyard. Just remember, this decorating tip is best used on freshly cut or low cut grass so, break out the mower before you start painting. And, non-toxic paint is an absolute MUST if you plan on having the kiddies and the pets on the lawn while the stars are there. We wouldn’t want anyone having an allergic reaction or needing a trip to the vet or the emergency room. This holiday is already packed with ER visits!

2. Place settings, place settings, dear lord you have to sit next to your aunt Fran who drools, don’t you?

Okay, so the 4th of July is technically a family holiday, wouldn’t you agree? You grab all of your relatives and force them into the back of a van, travel down to your nearest river front or city monument and watch thousands of dollars worth of fire works literally go up into smoke. But, before that, you have to feed them! Kill two birds with one stone and make your place settings brighter with this little tip.

Things to try: Including boxes of sparklers with each set of silver wear at the table.

What you’ll need:

  • Paper plates or dining utensils of your choice
  • Silver or plasticware
  • Boxes of sparklers
  • Red, white and blue ribbons
  • Place mats of your choice

Grab your place mats and spread them evenly on your table. Make sure your table cloth and place mats coordinate. Grab something in the patriotic red, white and blue, Shop72.com Sparklers place settingand use your best plasticware if you’re not a fan of taking grandma’s fine China into the backyard. Then, simply apply a ribbon to your napkin, sparklers and utensils to add to the center of the plate. Add streamers to the places for an extra touch of festiveness. This simplistic idea will be great for yourShop72 sparklers 4th of July Belleville guests of any age. After they’ve finished dinner and they’re looking to have a little fun, just provide a lighter (to the adults) or hand out the matches to those old enough to operate them for a glittery good time. Just don’t forget to properly dispose of those little burnt ends so that the pets don’t get ahold of them. I can’t stress this enough!

3. Star spangled tea light candle holders!

After the fireworks display is over and you’ve shuffled the kids off to bed, it’s about time for the grown-up fun to begin. The 4th of July is a great occasion to get together with your special someone and cuddle underneath the moonlight. Break out the drinks of your choice and the finger-foods and kick back with your sweetheart, bathed in the glow of this next little tip.

Things to try: Tape a some cut out stars on an old mason jar and pop a tea light candle inside.

What you’ll need:

  • Mason jars (it’s okay if they don’t have lids
  • Masking tape (or star shaped stickers)
  • Scissors or X-Acto knife
  • Spray paint in your patriotic color of choice
  • Candles
  • Patience

Grab your masking or painters tape (or a kiddy star shaped sticker book if you’re particularly strapped for time) and carefully cut out a bunch of tiny star shapes. Or, if you’re feeling particularly flirty, cut out little hearts. Add them to your mason jars, cover the tops with the lids or a piece of cardboard, and hit them with a couple Shop72.com Star spangled tea light candle holdercoats of red, blue or even white spray paint. Try to keep it between three and four coats because you want the glow of the candle to illuminate the area. Let the jar dry between coats then, if you Shop72.com star spangled mason jar tea light candle holderscan, clean up any paint drips or streaking with a small paint brush. This step is optional and purely for the perfectionists out there. Once it’s completely dry, peel off the star shaped tape or stickers to reveal the perfectly star shaped empty spaces left behind. Pop a tea light candle inside and give it a light. Or, if you’re worried about the candle going out and having to relight it, pick up a pack of cheap, battery operated candles from the dollar store, turn them on and let them glow all night long. The ending result is more than worth it. For a stronger effect, make sure you place them away from brighter light sources such as porch or spot lights. If you go the battery operated fought, they make a great night light for the kids after the adults are done having all the fun with them. The great part about this little tip is that it’s a project that can be used again and again with different outcomes. Try hearts or little dinosaurs next time, or, use a sparkly glitter spray paint so it sparkles in the daylight, even when the candle’s not lit or turned on!

Don’t forget to show your patriotism by flying an authentic American Flag at your party! The American flag is the ultimate symbol of freedom and is a testament to all those we celebrate and remember on this day. Happy Independence Day from all of us here at Shop72.com!

Shop72 American Flag

 Our First Warehouse Sale is a Success! You won’t believe what happened!

Dane Wilkerson Shop72.com Warehouse Sale
That’s Dane from eCommerce

Our warehouse sale has been a long discussed affair that we originally thought wouldn’t even happen. But, with a little luck, a little ingenuity, and a bunch of extraordinary people, we  got it done! From memorial day onwards, shop72.com has catered to the area, offering discounts, free gifts and more, all to better serve our loyal customers and make connections with the people in our community. And it’s not over yet, our sale is still going on, so come on down to our warehouse if you’re in the Belleville area for blowout sales and killer smiles.

Warehouse sale in Belleville
Our warehouse is looking spiffy!

The much anticipated sale kicked off officially on the first of June after months of painstaking planning and setting up our humble warehouse to look its best. It’s a handsome gentleman that we had to transform in order to appeal to the masses and, after worrying about it til we were all stressed out and above the legal blood/coffee limit, we whipped it into shape. Dane, our resident eCommerce manager and Linda, our Customer Service rep, took care to arrange everything, stocking racks and shelves with products and making sure everything was price tagged and ready to go. It was a hassle for them, working all day in the hot warehouse, but never once did they complain.

The first of June rolled around a lot sooner than we anticipated though, but we were

Warehouse sale in Belleville
Things are still selling quickly.

finally able to open our doors to the masses. We posted on Facebook and Twitter, handed out flyers and discount codes in expectation for our customers arrival but, to our complete and utter surprise, people started showing up early! We couldn’t stand to turn them away, so our sale actually started a few days ahead of schedule. Customer after customer came pouring in until we really didn’t know how to accommodate them. We were so surprised—and still are! People love our housewares, chocolate fountains and shammy’s, but more than anything they’ve been all over our clothing items like our dresses, camisoles, leggings, shoes, cardigans and more. Except, instead of ordering online and waiting for it to be delivered, they took it home straight away. One woman even decided to wear a pair of our heels home, straight out of the box. This has been more than a success, we’re so excited to have our loyal customers–and friends!–showing up to hangout with us.This sale has been an extraordinary success and we can’t wait to promote bigger and better events for our customers in the future.

Barbecue Season is Upon Us – How to Make Your Next Backyard Shindig a Success!

Recipes, products and DIY’s for your summer time cook-outs

Backyard barbecues are a staple of any American summer. Whether you’re getting ready for Memorial, Independence or Labor day, there’s always an excuse to bust out the grill and barbecue sauce. This holiday season, I’ll make sure you’re prepared to face all the challenges and hiccups that are bound to crop up while you’re getting your party on. From recipes to decorating tips and even a printable shopping list you can take with you on your path to barbecue success.

DECORATING

We all know that decorating for a barbecue is no easy feat. From gusty winds that blow everything off our tables to soggy drink containers and a mess of condiments. Here are a few ways to keep your party looking neat without breaking the bank.

1. Use Water Balloons as Ice Cubes

Grab those water balloons your kids are waiting to destroy each other with, fill them about half way with water and pop them into the freezer. After a couple hours you can fill a cooler 2af06bda9b22b72ae01bdfdc065d6900or small bin with these delightful makeshift ice cubes and skip having to empty out a tub of warm water at the end of the night. Its perfect for adding juice boxes and other drink containers you don’t want to get wet. And the best part, after they’ve finished cooling your drinks and melting, you can throw them at each other!

2. Mason Jars as Candle Holders

Everyone loves mason jars. They’re all the rage recently and can be found on just about any d86abc9d0416763cb5b47cf7cd3b9ffcstore shelf nation wide. Tie a bit of string or twine around the rim of the glass and fill it with water or  some other non flammable liquid. Gently float your favorite tea light candles in the liquid, light, and bask in the golden ambience of the candle flames. This is a great addition to any table centerpiece and adds a bit of sparkle and country styling to your party. Take it a step even further by sinking a few stones or jewels at the bottom of the glass. The little rocks you buy for fishtanks would work great for this as would anything generally heavy enough to sink to the bottom of the jar and stay put. If you’re on a tighter budget, grab a few rocks from a riverbed or your neighbors flower bed (shhhh, I wont tell) and enjoy the all natural effect of your new table centerpiece. Add a wreath of flowers around the jars on the table to make your party the envy of all your friends and bossy relatives.

3. Muffin Tins or Mason Jars as Condiment Dispensers

We all know the mess of trying to safely and neatly distribute condiments at a cookout. Who knows whats in those packets we steal from our neighboring McDonalds (I know you’ve done6361c59bbe05660ecf55a6ca12f5e0c4 it! We all have!) and setting out the bottles results in ketchup fights and a slippery mustard mess. Try filling mason jars or your old muffin tin with your favorite condiments and even veggies for a neat dispensary that will not only look good on your table but will cut your clean up and put away time in half. Tomatoes, pickles, onions, heck even your grandmothers cole slaw recipe; if it can fit in a jar or a tin it has a perfect place at your table. Equip the jars tin with disposable spoons to make it easy to grab whatever your burger needs. Just be sure to remind your guests that double dipping is strictly not allowed!

4. String up Your Old Christmas Lights and Bring Out the Bed Sheets

Want to turn your next cook-out into a party your guests will never forget? Simple additions like blankets instead of chairs and old Christmas lights strung from poles or the side of the house will help make your night one of the best your guests have ever had. Urge people to 03d856339f08c73abbb008bb2f5712d4take off their shoes and socks and climb into the intimate setting you’ve provided, they’ll love you for it, especially if they’re the skittish type who’s not so keen on social gatherings. Removing the exacting need to mingle by setting them between their favorite people in a comfortable atmosphere will have them chatting up a storm in no time–willingly! Don’t forget the candles on the table, the good food and the excellent conversation either!

5. Take a Favorite Childhood Game to the Next Level

Can you say water balloon, outdoor twister? Break out the non-toxic spray paint and create a 6×4 grid of circles in the grass with the infamous twister colors and let it dry. Once you’re sure it won’t stain your toes or clothing, break out your old twister board and start spinning. 1563ba61b4e6d367443047acf9d50d7aFor every missed color or slip and fall–bean them with a water balloon! You’ll be slipping, sliding and covered in grass in no time. And we all know, there can be no real summer fun without grass stains and someone complaining about water in their eyes. Make it even more exciting for the adults with a friendly wager, how far you decide to take it is completely up to you!

RECIPES

What’s better than summer fun? Summer food! I’ve complied a small list of recipes that will have your guests salivating and demanding details before you shove them out the door.  Just remember, what happens between us stays between us, if you want to tell your friends it’s your great aunts recipe from the 1950’s, be my guest!

1. Sweet and Sour Meatball Skewers

This one comes from the folks over at www.tasteandtellblog.com.  Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 4.31.52 PM

Prep time:

15 mins

Cook time:

10 mins

Total time:

25 mins

Serves: 4

These easy meatball skewers are made with frozen meatballs and sweet peppers and then basted with a simple sweet and sour sauce for a fast weeknight meal.

Ingredients

•32 frozen fully cooked 1-inch meatballs, thawed (1 lb.)

•1 red pepper, cut into 1-inch squares

•1 green pepper, cut into 1-inch squares

•¼ cup apricot jam

•¼ cup barbecue sauce

Instructions

1.Heat a grill to medium-high. Thread the peppers and meatballs alternately onto 8 skewers.

2.Microwave the jam in a small bowl for 15 seconds. Add the barbecue sauce and stir to combine.

3.Place the meatball skewers on the grill and brush with the sauce. Grill for 8-10 minutes, turning and basting with the sauce occasionally.

4.Serve warm.

2. BBQ Glazed Pineapple Bacon Shrimp

From the good ole’ folks at thedomesticgeekblog.comScreen Shot 2015-04-30 at 4.31.44 PM

Prep time: 

15 mins

Cook time: 

15 mins

Total time: 30 mins

Serves: 

8

Ingredients

•1 Lb bacon

•1 Lb de-veined raw shrimp

•1 fresh pineapple

•1 C. Barbecue sauce

Instructions

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2.Prepare the shrimp for cooking by peeling them and cutting of the tails.

3.Put the prepared shrimp in a bowl and drizzle some pineapple juice over them, add some sea salt and toss to coat all the shrimp.

4.Fold bacon around each shrimp and then cut bacon, depending on how big the shrimp are you should be able to wrap a few shrimp with one piece of bacon.

5.Use a toothpick to skewer a piece of pineapple then poke it through the bacon and shrimp to secure it.

6.Place shrimp on a cookie sheet lined with foil, brush on barbecue sauce (we used Uncle Dougies Sneaky Spicy Barbecue Sauce)

7.Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 min or until bacon and shrimp are cooked through, enjoy!

3. Bobby Flay’s Sliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise

From people.com and master chef Bobby Flay himself comes a wonderful recipe that’ll add a little south-western flavor to your party.

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 4.31.36 PM

Sliders are the perfect party food, and these mini burgers from the host of Barbecue Addiction steal the show, especially when topped with chipotle-lime mayonnaise.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup mayonnaise

2 canned chipotles in adobo sauce
Juice of ½ lime

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef, 80% lean, 20% fat

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cheese slices, your choice

Mini burger buns

INSTRUCTIONS

.1 For mayonnaise: Puree the first 3 ingredients in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

.2 Preheat grill over medium-high heat. Form meat into 8 tightly packed portions. Season with salt and pepper.

.3 Place sliders on the grill. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. When the sliders are almost done, top with cheese. Close grill (or cover) to allow cheese to melt. Place on bun, top with mayonnaise and serve.

SHOPPING

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Everyone has trouble remembering what they should and shouldn’t pick up at the story. Grocery list aside as, the best part about a backyard barbecue is that you get to set your own menu, but I’ve included a list of things you’re likely to forget if you’re wrestling the kids in and out of a van and can’t find a moment to think. First and foremost, your grilling kit! This beautiful 18-piece barbecue set comes in an aluminum case with dual latches for secure storage. It includes fork, tongs, knife, grill-cleaning brush, basting brush, 4 steak knives, and 8 corn holders and everything you need to get your grilling done right! With this set at your side, the everything else will be a breeze.

psl

Model Aircrafts and the Kids who Love them

It’s no secret that model airplanes have been a staple of creative kids toys for as long as one can remember, but, in recent studies, they’ve proven to be even more useful in childhood development than you could ever imagine. You may think model kits are a thing of the past, but in fact there are more exciting, diverse and challenging kits available now more so than ever. And they’re only a click away.

Once a beloved pastime of your parents and grandparents in the fifties and sixties, model aircrafts date back as far as ancient Egypt. In fact, what’s considered by modern archaeologists as the oldest model aircraft in existence was found in the tomb of Saqquara during an excavation in 1898. The plane, aerodynamic in design with wings that would be considered by today’s standards as fuselage, is thought to date back to around 200 BCE. It’s amazing to think that an ancient civilization would be thinking about something as advanced as flight, and even more amazing to think that this was a child’s toy.

According to professor Emeritus Seymour Papert of the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, “Constructionism means learning by making something. LEGO is an example, writing computer programs is an example, painting is an example. And what you learn in the process of doing that sinks much deeper; its roots go deeper into the subsoil of the mind than anything anybody can tell you.” By building model airplanes, children are learning hand eye coordination, problem solving by trial and error and even social skills when they share their creations with their siblings and friends. Starting your child off early with a love for mathematics and engineering is definitely a step in the right direction.

Lockheed_SR-71_Blackbird

The Lockheed SR-71 Nightbird 

The Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” is a long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft that was operated by the United States Air Force. It was developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s by Lockheed and its Skunk Works division. Renowned American aerospace engineer Clarence “Kelly” Johnson was responsible for many of the design’s innovative concepts. During aerial reconnaissance missions, the SR-71 operated at high speeds and altitudes to allow it to outrace threats. If a surface-to-air missile launch was detected, the standard evasive action was simply to accelerate and outfly the missile.[2] The SR-71 was designed to have basic stealth characteristics and served as a precursor to future stealth aircraft.

The SR-71 served with the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1998. A total of 32 aircraft were built; 12 were lost in accidents, but none lost to enemy action. The SR-71 has been given several nicknames, including Blackbird and Habu. Since 1976, it has held the world record for the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft, a record previously held by the YF-12 (via: wikipedia).

DSCF3456

Now, I have to admit, I bought this thing for myself, but I couldn’t help but wonder how it would benefit the little ones in my family. While, it looks like a bit of a daunting task to undertake but I assure you, if I can put it together, anyone can. Probably blindfolded and hogtied. When you open the package it comes with everything you need to put it together and display it. With lots of little pieces, screws and a tiny screwdriver I have to warn you, while this is a kids toys, it’s not recommended for anyone under the age of eight.

DSCF3452 copy DSCF3455 copy

The plane itself comes in a window box that you could actually just stick on a shelf to displayDSCF3450 if you felt like it, with an easy to read instructional diagram on the back. Even without the instructions I found it simple to put together. By the  time I was finished I was almost disappointed because I didn’t have another one to work on. But, at thirteen bucks a piece, I’m pretty sure I’ll get my hands on another one pretty soon.

Honestly, I was impressed by how detailed this thing was, even as someone who isn’t really all that of a model builder or collector. The lines and etchings on the body of the plane look laser cut even if they’re not and the matte black finish gives it a realistic look that doesn’t immediately scream “plastic” when I look at it. It’s not very often that you find something that’s cheap AND well made. Quality has gone down in recent years, but I have absolutely no complaints here.

After sticking this thing together, I placed it on the included stand, stepped back and fell in love with model building forever. I know that when I have children, whenever that’ll be, I can DSCF3458 copysay with confidence that they will be building model planes with me whether they like it or not. Hey, a little mommy time never hurt anybody! At the end of the day, model planes or models of any kind for that matter, are beneficial in a multitude of ways. Jumpstart your kids learning process and get them ready for a technological future that’s as exciting as it is terrifying. If you want to get your hands on this plane or a million of the others they have, it can be found at shop72.com.

Man Cave Sanctuary Upgrades on a budget!

Simple workarounds, internet finds and decorating techniques for the Man Cave.

Man Cave or not, we all have that particular room in our home that could use a major facelift and, if you’re anything like me, spending a ton of money on re-decorating isn’t exactly economical. Luckily, it’s 2015 and finding cheap knick knacks and quick fixes on the internet are as easy as pie. Here are a few techniques and item’s I’ve found around the net that will give that sad space a new outlook on life.

1. DIY 

Handy with a staple gun? Have a bunch of old t-shirts laying around? Turn them into works of art for just a few bucks! Wrap your shirt around a small (or large!) canvas and staple them to the back of the frame. These canvases can easily be picked up at a Michael’s Craft Store or even Walmart.

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How about a glue gun? This DIY coffee table can easily be used as a center piece for any room. Find yourself a thrifted coffee table either at goodwill or, if you’re lucky, for free buried under a pile of junk in someone’s garage. Get a hold of some old license plates or a stack of tin signs (featured later in the post) and glue them down. If you’re feeling particularly crafty, you can apply a layer of polyurethane from Home Depot to make this table especially long lasting.

License Plate Coffee Table

Maybe you’re in need of extra space? Shelving is definitely the way to go! All you need is a couple of ladders and some plywood boards, cut to the appropriate size for the ladders you are using. Drill and attach the boards to the rungs of the ladder to secure them as shelves. Pile them up with books, trinkets, CD’s, DVD’S, or turn it into an entertainment center with a flat screen on top and that new XBOX One you’ve been eyeing.

homeinteriordesign-blogspot

2. Cheap Buys

Walls looking a little bare? Give your man cave the ultimate manly touch with Man Cave Hand Saw MDF Sign. This sign is cut to resemble a hand saw, perfect for tooling out your space. And if you snatch it up now, it’s on sale for only 7.49 at Hobby Lobby!

Wall SawDitto on the bare walls. shop72.com sells tin signs in a million different styles and motifs. From gas station signs to super heroes and signs for gun enthusiasts. Whatever message you’re trying to get across, say it in style with a bunch of distressed, retro signs. For twelve bucks a pop, how can you go wrong?

tinsign

New TV not in the budget? Turn your iPhone, Android or tablet into a cheap projector with an old shoebox, a roll of duct tape and a magnifying glass.

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Now get out there and get busy!

Product Links:

http://goodideasforyou.com/mix-a-match/3859-staple-old-shirts-to-a-canvas.html

http://www.walmart.com/c/kp/blank-art-canvas

http://www.michaels.com/painting/canvas/809188108

http://www.thediyadventures.com/2012/11/19/license-plate-table-and-more/

http://themancaveblog.com/diy-man-cave-projects-you-can-do-this-weekend/

http://shop.hobbylobby.com/products/man-cave-hand-saw-mdf-sign-5565593/

http://www.thistlewoodfarms.com/how-to-make-your-phone-into-a-projector

http://www.shop72.com/legends-lady-luck-tin-sign-12-16.html

http://www.shop72.com/dont-tread-on-me-american-iron-vintage-tin-metal-sign.html

http://www.shop72.com/ford-historic-logo-metal-tin-sign.html

http://www.shop72.com/tin-sign-set-of-2-sinclair-mobilgas.html