Recently, my husband and I were looking for something to do on one of his days off that would get us out of the house for awhile, but still be responsible, safe and socially distant from other people.
I know many people have just gone back to “business as usual”, but we aren’t in that camp. I’m a teacher, my husband is an ICU pharmacist–we are definitely people who listen to the scientists over the politicians.
So while we are venturing out a tiny bit more, we certainly are not “business as usual”. We aren’t taking unnecessary risks. As much as I’d love to take a vacation right now, there is no way you’d find me on a plane. We aren’t eating in restaurants yet, just picking up take out. You won’t find me in a crowded location. When we do go out, we practice social distancing and we wear a mask.
During this pandemic, I have heard so many people talking about their “rights”…
“The government can’t make me stay home. It violates my constitutional rights!”
“I refuse to wear a mask! It’s my right not to!”
This is AMERICA! We have LIBERTY!”
I don’t wear a mask because anyone is making me. And I don’t wear it to protect myself. That’s not how this works.
I wear a mask because it protects others that I may come in contact with (even though I try my best to stay 6 feet away) should I unknowingly be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. I wear it because I care about my neighbors, my friends, my community.
Social distancing and mask wearing are the best weapons we have right now against this virus. We can stay home 100% of the time…or we can distance ourselves appropriately and wear a mask. Wearing a mask actually gives us more freedom, not less.
Do I enjoy wearing a mask? Hell no. In fact, I despise it. I’m quite claustrophobic, and having my mouth and nose covered really bothers me.
Some places (I wish more), are requiring people to wear a mask. Do I feel like they are violating my rights? Again, hell no. If I didn’t want to put on the mask, you know what I could do? Exercise my “rights” and not go there!
One person’s liberty should not infringe on another person’s health and safety.
This situation is temporary. We will eventually have a vaccine, and life will begin to return to some semblance of “normal”. Until then, I will follow the science, choose activities where I can be outside and/or appropriately distanced, and only go places that I can tolerate wearing my mask for short periods of time. Because it’s the right thing to do for the greater good of us all.
That’s me exercising my liberty. See how that works?
And I personally think the world would be a better place if more people would stop and think about how we can help each other through this, rather than focusing on waving their flags and demanding their “rights”.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…
Last weekend, we decided that a visit to an antique mall about an hour from home would be a good, socially distanced excursion. You guys, I haven’t been in an antique store since we took our weekend trip to the Amana Colonies in February!
A fun, relaxing, much-needed day…
The antique mall we were headed to is about an hour’s drive from our home. We stopped on our way to grab a bagel and coffee from a drive-through and enjoyed it on our drive.
We got to Antiques Iowa shortly after they opened. It was so nice to just take our time browsing around. It is a big antique mall, and really spread out, plus it wasn’t very crowded, so it was easy to avoid other people and keep our distance. If I started to turn down an aisle with others in it, I just skipped it, went down the next aisle instead, and then circled back later.
My hubby and I spent hours just browsing and enjoying ourselves.
Plus we found some fun treasures, some of which I used on my July 4th tiered tray!
A picnic for dinner…
When we left the antique mall, we phoned in a curbside pickup order from a well-known BBQ restaurant in our area, Hickory Park, and headed to Saylorville Lake for a picnic.
It was such beautiful weather, we found a shady spot under a tree, high up on a hill, and spread out our blanket to eat and watch the boat traffic.
Then we took a walk over by the spillway to watch people fishing and basically just to prolong being outside, we were enjoying it so much. It was a great day, and a much-needed, safe and socially-distanced outing.
These kinds of days are my favorite– low key, relaxed… spending time with my husband with no agenda or timeline. Throw in some antiques and outdoors time… perfect.
My July 4th Themed Tiered Tray
When we got home with my fun finds, I was inspired to get started on my July 4 themed tiered tray.
Gathering things I already had…
I gathered up some items that I’d collected over the years–some are vintage and some, including the patriotic wooden stars, are from Hobby Lobby.
The little mason jar candles I’ve had for so long that I have no idea where I got them. I knew they’d be cute on this tiered tray, but I didn’t like the labels on the top–they were too distracting from the overall look.
For an easy fix, I just covered them with circles from a brown paper sack.
The little patriotic bench was my mom’s, and the red metal orb is also from Hobby Lobby.
You might remember the little house from Hobby Lobby that I’ve used in several of my tiered trays. It’s so cute and works for a lot of different holidays.
The little Liberty Bell is from Hobby Lobby, and the red/white and blue striped wooden block I’ve had for years and years.
Incorporating my new finds…
Mini Wooden Rolling Pins
On our antique shopping excursion, I saw the little rolling pins and couldn’t pass them up! Although not overtly “patriotic” in and of themselves, with their little red handles they just work in my vintage red, white and blue color scheme.
Vintage Wooden Quill Bobbin Flag
Another fabulous find from Saturday is this rustic looking flag made from a vintage wooden quill bobbin. OMG, when I saw it I was in love! This is such a great example of a clever way to repurpose something old and give it new life.
These wooden bobbins were first used in textile mills in the late 1800s during the Industrial Revolution. They held the yarn for the giant looms that would weave the yarn into fabric. I love the history and character it adds to this tiered tray.
Vintage D.C. Postcards
My very favorite find in a long time are these vintage postcards from Washington, D.C.! I was so enthralled with them that I must have spent an hour going through them and deciding which to buy! There were dozens!
I’ve been to D.C. many, many times. Over the years, I’ve taken literally thousands of middle schoolers on an annual spring break trip to our nation’s capital. My love of D.C. history runs deep, so finding these was like hitting the jackpot!
Some of these are postmarked as early as 1904 and 1909! Others are from the 30s and 40s. I mean, how cool is that?
Dear Cousin Hortense,
If you have not visited Washington D.C., let it be one of your pleasure trips.
-Cousin Andrew and family
I couldn’t agree with you more, Andrew! I ❤️ D.C., too.
Now here’s the one I selected for my tiered tray…
This is a vintage postcard of a painting that hangs in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. It is called Surrender of Burgoyne and was painted by John Turnbull in 1821.
I love the patriotic and vintage vibe it gives my tray!
Vintage Toy Tractor
I don’t know much about this little toy tractor, although I suspect it is from the 1940s or 50s. It reminded me of a tractor from the farm my dad grew up on, so I had to buy it. Again, because it’s red and vintage, it works here.
Plus, filling your tiered tray with little things that have happy memories attached to them makes your tray all the better. ❤️
Fill in gaps & create varying heights…
Once you get the items selected and arranged on your tray how you like them, use greenery or ribbon to fill it out.
I generally use mini potted greenery, but I didn’t like the way the greens distracted from my red, white & blue color scheme on this one, so I dug out this ribbon that I had from last Christmas. It’s actually more of a red, white and faded black color, but it works. I wove it in and around my display to fill in any bare spots.
Another trick to getting your tray to look right proportionally is to vary the heights. I used a silver candle holder to boost one of my mason jar candles, a wood block turned upside down that you might recognize from my Rustic Wooden Block Signs project, and some tree circles that were place card holders from my wedding. The little slit worked perfectly to hold my vintage postcard!
I’m really happy with how my finished July 4 tray turned out, and I’m still having fun changing up my tiered tray for all the holidays and seasons. My kitchen always has something new and interesting to look at it.
Happy July 4th!
You can peek at my other tiered tray designs here:
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