Colorful Accents for the Outdoors

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Now that summer is in full swing, it’s time to enjoy the warm weather and long days of daylight outdoors. Backyard living areas, like gazebos, porches and patios, are great areas for staging impromptu gatherings for family and friends. You can easily turn familiar backyard spaces into playful getaways by creating clever and colorful accents for your outdoor living areas.

To make a simple change for a special occasion, holiday or just for fun, tie a napkin or decorative tea towel right over your chair seat. Center the napkin over the seat, letting it drape over slightly in the front. Pin four 18-inch ribbon ties to the napkin around the back posts. Make sure you turn the raw edges of the ribbon under as you pin. Hand-stitch the ribbon to the underside of the napkin. Tie the two corners to the back posts of the chair next to the seat. The beauty of this look is its simplicity.

Cast a fresh, summery look onto your table with starfish appliqués. Fuse paper-backed iron-on adhesive to starfish fabric; cut out the starfish, then fuse them onto a colorful tablecloth. Use a blanket-stitch to sew around the starfish edges. To add weight to the corners of the tablecloth, drill a hole through a seashell, tie with a ribbon bow and pin it to each corner. Remove the shells before laundering the tablecloth.

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Kick back in a hammock slip-covered in style with a bright fabric and ribbon bows. Cut the fabric 1 inch longer and 1 inch wider than the length and width of your hammock. Turn under all the edges of the fabric 1/4 inch, then 1/4 inch again, and topstitch the folds in place. Cut ten 1-yard-long pieces of 1-1/2-inch-wide grosgrain ribbon. Fold each ribbon in half to form a doubled 18-inch-long piece. Sew the folded edges of the ribbons to the short ends of the cover, spacing them evenly. Tie into bows.

Use painted awning stripes to brighten a galvanized tub, the perfect accent for holding flowers or iced beverages for a backyard party. Using painters’ tape, mark off the rim of the container. Lightly sand below the tape, then wipe the area clean with a tack cloth. Paint the sanded portion white. Divide the tub’s circumference into an even number of stripes. Tape off and paint the stripes in a contrasting color. For a coordinated look, stick with one color scheme and carry it into the accessories, such as painted pots, throw pillows and festive tableware.