patriotic picnic part 1: crafts and cupcakes


I don’t know what came over me this Fourth of July. It was a little scary.

G and I invited a few people for brunch on Saturday, which was a good solution for those who had a date with fireworks that evening. While I was looking for recipes online Thursday, I came across this, and this, and this. Let me say that I am NOT a crafter. I’m not even a wanna-be crafter. Want proof? I’ve never owned a glue gun and have used one twice in my life – burned myself both times. However, I am a gifted appreciator of crafts and craftiness (of the decorating kind). But when Google directed me to Martha’s patriotic projects, I felt my inner craft maven awaken and take control. After a trip to Michaels, here are the results.

1. I bought a white paper tablecloth, and we painted stars on it in a few different colors.

2. We printed out templates for drink parasols. We covered tin cans with these templates to make attractive containers, which could hold utensils, straws, flowers, or breadsticks.

3. We tried to make these napkin holders, but after 30 minutes of struggling with the first one (did I mention I can’t sew?) and being on the verge of teaching my girls some new words, I decided to just tie the ribbons around the napkins and utensils. The maven spirit was waning.

4. Finally, we glued patriotic ribbon onto toothpicks to make little flags for the cupcakes.

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To those of you endowed with the craft gene (like my friend Andrea and my sister-in-law – I’m in awe of you both), these are pitifully simple projects, but to me, they are what my now-sober mind knew before I started – a lot of work. I can safely say that I have not been transformed into a Martha protégé; the maven has gone back into hibernation. It was fun while it lasted, but I’m sticking with food.

Patriotic Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

decoration inspired by Martha Stewart

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix, prepared and baked into 24 cupcakes
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • red shoelace licorice
  • blueberries
  1. Bake and cool 24 cupcakes.
  2. Cream together cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer. Add sugar and vanilla. Whip several minutes until light and creamy. (Make sure the butter and cream cheese are room temperature or the frosting will be lumpy.)
  3. Frost cupcakes generously, smoothing out the surface. Cut the shoelace licorice so that you have 48 longer pieces (about 1 inch) and 48 shorter pieces (about 1/2 inch). Wash and dry blueberries.
  4. Decorate cupcakes with the flag design as shown. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

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One thought on “patriotic picnic part 1: crafts and cupcakes

  1. Pingback: patriotic picnic part 2: the food « Foodie plus 4

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