The 4th of July Party

Take Your 4th Beyond the BBQTake Your 4th Beyond the BBQ

We’ve teamed up with DIY decor expert Brittni Mehlhoff and super-chef Kate McMillan to help you plan a 4th of July party with a few California-style twists.


The Magic is in the Details

Blogger Brittni Mehloff shows us how to put a county fair inspired twist into your 4th.

DIY Ticket-Wrapped Vase and Votives

DIY Ticket-Wrapped Vase and Votives

By Brittini Mehlhoff of Paper & Stitch

These DIY raffle ticket vessels will have you feeling like you're right back at the county fair! This simple project idea is perfect for celebrating the 4th, and you'll only need a few supplies to bring it to life.

To create these decorative containers, you'll need vases and/or votives, raffle tickets, a hot glue gun, and glue sticks. A roll of raffle tickets can be purchased at office or party supply stores or online.

  1. Vases and/or votives
  2. Raffle tickets
  3. Hot glue gun
  4. Glue sticks

For a firework design, like the example here, begin by separating the tickets. Then curl each ticket and hot glue them to the container, starting from the top rim. Once the top row is complete, glue the second row with a slight overlap. The votives shown here used three rows of tickets.

For a lantern design, begin by tearing off tickets in lengths of either two of three. The number of tickets for each length will depend on the height of your container. For the shorter vase shown here, each length was two tickets. The taller vases used three. Separate and bend the tickets so that they flare out from the container slightly. Use the hot glue to affix the tickets to the container.

These festive vessels will bring a county fair flair to any Fourth of July dining table. As a bonus, the finished votives can be given as party favors to guests when the celebrating comes to an end.

DIY Ticket-Wrapped Vase and Votives Steps

Brittni Mehlhoff DIY & Home Decor Expert

Brittni Mehlhoff is a craft stylist living in Atlanta, GA. In addition to styling, she is the founding editor of Paper & Stitch, a DIY lifestyle blog that features accessible, modern project ideas and recipes for a hip and happy home. Her work has been featured in numerous craft books, print publications, and popular sites, such as Woman's Day, Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living, Apartment Therapy, and many more. In 2014, Paste magazine named Paper & Stitch #2 on its list of top 10 DIY blogs to follow.

Essential Party Supplies

  1. BEERMO Our new favorite way to keep beers with their original owners Get them here.
  2. Garlands An easy way to add pizzazz to your party. Learn more in the DIY project below.
  3. Sparklers No Fourth of July party is complete without sparklers.

What's On the grill?

No matter how much of a twist you’re putting on your Fourth of July party, the grill still needs to make an appearance. Here, chef Kate McMillan shows us how to make a fireworks-worthy variation on a classic grilling recipe.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Spanish Manzanilla Olives, Feta & Grilled Nectarines

Grilled Lamb Chops with Spanish Manzanilla Olives, Feta & Grilled Nectarines

  • 15 min prep
  • 10 min cook
  • 4 servings


  • 12 lamb chops, about 3/4-inch thick
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 ripe but firm nectarines
  • 1 cup Lindsay Whole Spanish Manzanilla Olives (or your favorite green Lindsay olive), drained
  • 3 oz feta cheese, at room temperature

Cooking Directions

  1. Place the lamb chops in a large nonreactive mixing bowl (stainless steel, ceramic, glass, plastic, or metal with enamel coating) and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon zest, and half the oregano. Toss to coat the lamb chops and season well with salt and pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat a grill to medium-high. If you are using a charcoal grill, prepare for direct heat.
  3. Working around the pit, cut the nectarines into 4 large piece. Lightly brush the nectarines with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spray the grill grates with a nonstick cooking spray and place the lamb and nectarines over direct heat. Cook the nectarines for a total of 2-3 minutes, turning as needed to achieve light grill marks. Cook the lamb for 2-3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer the peaches to a cutting board and the lamb to a serving platter, allowing the lamb to rest for 5 minutes. Cut the peaches into 1/2-inch slices and place all over the platter with the lamb. Scatter the olives, remaining oregano, and crumbled feta on top of the lamb and serve at once.

Kate McMillan Chef & Cookbook Author

Kate McMillan is chef and owner of Kate McMillan Catering. She has authored 9 recipe books for Williams-Sonoma, and has worked as an event planner for Vogue and Glamour magazines. She lives in Northern California with husband and their three daughters.
Pinot Noir

Perfect Pairing

Pinot Noir works best with this rich & fruity dish — or a Marsanne for the white wine-craving guests. Or, try making a red Sangria and topping the glass off with some of the grilled nectarines.

Must Try Fixins' for Your 4th

We're all familiar with classic toppings for burgers & dogs like ketchup, mustard, tomato & relish. This year, try shaking things up with some modern, soon-to-be classics:

  1. Sriracha Sauce
  2. Fried Egg
  3. Sour Kraut
  4. Jalapeños
  5. Red Roasted Peppers

Grilling Sauces Across America

The unique, regional flavors found in grilling sauces across the country reflect as many personalities as the cities and towns they were created in. Here are some of the most popular varieties:


California-Style Sauce

Sweet with a citrus bite. Tomato or Salsa-based. Red wine and herb, garlic, salt, black pepper, parsley rub are common ingredients.


Texas Barbecue Sauce

Spicy, but not overly sweet. Texas style sauce uses spices like chili powder, paprika, cumin. Little to no sugar and often contain drippings and smoke flavor.


Kansas City Barbecue Sauce

Sweet, thick and smokey. Contains brown sugar or molasses, tomatoes, onion, vinegar, chili powder, salt and black pepper.

South Carolina

South Carolina Mustard Sauce

Tangy and sweet and spices to make it unique. The sauce contains yellow mustard, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and various spices. Sometimes honey or molasses is used.

DIY No-Sew Fabric Garland

DIY No-Sew Fabric Garland

By Brittini Mehlhoff of Paper & Stitch

Get into the spirit of Fourth of July with an easy no-sew garland, inspired by the county fair.

To make your own, grab your favorite fabrics, a rotary cutter, cutting mat, and ruler. These supplies can be found at your local fabric or craft store. Instead of a rotary cutter and cutting mat, you can also use scissors.

  1. Your favorite Fabrics
  2. Rotary cutter
  3. Cutting mat
  4. Ruler

Begin by cutting triangles that are longer wider than they are tall. Once you have all of your triangles, tie them together using the top corners.

In about an hour, you'll be able to create a fun and decorative accent for your Fourth of July party.

DIY Garland Steps
Pro Tips

Think Outside the Potluck

Friends love to help hosts make a party successful. Besides having your guests bring food, you can also put them to work. If a friend offers to tend the grill, let them (of course, you’ll want to make sure they have a cocktail in hand). You can also set up the bar with instructions on how to pour your own signature cocktail and then have all the ingredients ready to mix. Or bring dessert out on a tray with mason jars and let guests assemble their own (idea: brownies, ice cream, sliced berries, and fresh whipped cream).