July 4th Bash on a Budget

If you're planning your 4th of July backyard bash, but don't want to spend a bundle, "The Early Show" has got you covered.

On the broadcast Wednesday, Amy Goodman, senior editor of All You magazine, shared creative and inexpensive ways you can save cash when setting your picnic table.

Tip: Use an Iron and Hem Tape to Create a Bandana Table Runner

Amy says: Just throw down a red and white checkered tablecloth and don't underestimate the many uses of bandanas for decorating! Here we've used them as a runner. You can either sew them or hem tape works just as well - use an iron and iron over them for the bandannas to stay together. This tape activates when it gets hot. You cut the hem tape the length of your bandana, you place it on the edge and you take another one and overlap it. Then you take an iron over it, it heats, wait for it to cool, then it will be relatively fuse together. You can get the hem tape at Amazon.com for $1.69 and the bandanas are usually $1 at a craft store.

Tip: Fold a Bandana into a Silverware Holder

Amy says: Set the table in red white and blue -- the plates seen on the show are from Walmart -- or you can mix and match from red white and blue plates you may already have in your closet.

Fold a basic bandana into a napkin with a pocket to hold flatware. You just fold it like a denim pocket, then thread a star button onto a bit of twine, ribbon, or yarn and just tie it around it. Then you can slip in your utensils and it goes on top of your plates for a festive place setting look.

Tip: Re-purpose Mason Jars as Drinking Glasses

Amy says: We love the idea of re-purposing old jelly jars. We used them as drinking glasses and garnished them with a lemon. Here's a tip: Help guests keep track of their drinks and encourage recycling by making drink tags for your guests. Write each person's name on a thick rubber band and hand them out at the beginning of the party for guests to wrap around their cups. It's a foolproof way to keep track of whose cup is whose and cuts down on waste. If you want to keep your drinks your cooler you can pre-chill your glasses in the fridge.

Tip: Re-purpose Mason jar as Candle Holder

Amy says: Here we turned mason jars into a pretty candle holder -- what better way keep the party going after sundown than by candlelight? Guests can even take them home as favors. So dress up a few old jelly jars with scraps of bandana and line them down the table to go with the patriotic theme. You just trim a strip of bandana to wrap around the jar -- we also cut a circle for to fit the top so they still look polished when we close the jars back up. Use a glue stick to attach the bandana and finish up by tying them with colored raffia, string, or ribbon. Inside you can place your votive.

Tip: Re-purpose Mason jar as Creative Centerpiece

Amy says: When it comes to table decorations, a little craftiness goes a long way! It's so easy to put together an eye-catching centerpiece with a few lemons and some flowers. To make this, start with an empty vase. Place slices in, then whole lemon in: that creates first layer. The place another whole lemon in, slices around outer vase: that creates second layer. Repeat until near top. Fill with water. Arrange flowers in. Then just trim your flowers to fit, pop them in and add water! So easy. Plus you can use the extra lemons to garnish drink glasses, as we did here. You can also use a large jar or vase for this.

Tip: Use a Plate and Cup to Create Cake Stand

Amy says: Ice cream is an essential part of summer so why not jazz up ice cream cones by dipping them in chocolate and some red, white and blue sprinkles! Create a little stand with a festive cup and sturdy plate like we've done here. The plate has to be either stoneware or a weighted white plate that's heavy so it doesn't tip easily.

Tip: Dress the Part

Amy says: Because you're going to be outside all day, dress comfy! Look for lightweight cotton clothes to keep you cool without sacrificing your patriotic style. For this we love the Faded Glory line at Wal-Mart -- not only does the line top out at just $12, they've got super-cute red, white and blue clothes for the whole family-dresses for mom, tops and shorts for dad, kids clothes, flip flops for $3 and even sunglasses and tote bags that are perfect for loading up with towels and sunscreen! Another option is you can fill this tote with a bunch of $3 flip flops for your guests and when you go to a party outside so this will be a fun treat for them. It's fun it gets you in the spirit.

The main thing to remember here is that entertaining should be easy and fun and you can do it on the cheap, all you need is a little imagination.
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