Friday, July 1, 2011

Are You Ready for the 4th Of July?

Are you ready for the 4th of July?

Memorial Day, Flag Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day are all summer holidays. Each provides a perfect opportunity to spotlight the US flag, Uncle Sam, and Lady Liberty.

One of my favorite collections that I bring out for these holidays is my group of patriotic figures and American flags. As an elementary teacher, each year I taught a patriotic unit that focused on American symbols. At some point through the years, I found myself picking up various models of Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty or ephemera that featured the image of these two figures of Americana. Sharing these pieces of "folk art" with my students often provided visual inspiration for student art, and a tangible connection with these iconic symbols of America.

Now that I'm retired, these figures provide patriotic decor here at HFTS for the summer holidays: Memorial Day, Flag Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day.

This flying Uncle Sam charm ornament includes the famous "I Want You" poster among the various charms hanging from his arms.

Red and white striped pants, a blue coat, and a top hat are typical dress for most of the Uncle Sam figures.

and often times Uncle Sam is proudly waving

"Old Glory" in one of his hands.

Lady Liberty is always featured with a crown of gold.

Some of my figures are paper maché or resin . . .

but many are hand-carved like this

dapper gentleman with his walking stick.

This Uncle Sam is only five inches tall and badly faded, but someone took great care to carve this gentlemen. It is signed and dated 1940.

Some Uncle Sam figures are made to resemble a nutcracker.

This trio is done in needlepoint, hand-stitched by me.

I stitched this needlepoint tassel

designed by Sandy Jenkins in the 1990s.

A vintage oak hall bench is a popular spot for holiday pillows.

Saundra Slagle was the creator of this jaunty Uncle Sam soft sculpture. I stitched the Lady Liberty in 1997. It too is a Sandy Jenkins design.

The tall, thin US figure in the center of this group is an original made by Dawn Tubbs in 2008. He is holding an elephant in one had and a donkey in the other hand.

This group includes Nancy Thomas' Uncle Sam stilt figure (1999), a paper maché figure by Carole Watts (2002), and the rolly polly wooden figure by James Haddon (1990).

Standing at a height of 12 inches, this glittery Uncle Sam was made in 2002 as part of the 10th Anniversary Nutcracker Village Collection.

Can't say that this Uncle Sam fishing lure is particularly handsome, though it is in the original box which provides documentation that this piece was sold as a souvenir during the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration of the USA.

This flying Uncle Sam made of resin is unmarked.

My favorite is this Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam whirligig. When the wind blows the paddles, the figures bend to kiss.

Those of you interested in starting your own collection of these ubiquitous American symbols might want to get a copy of THE FOREMOST GUIDE TO UNCLE SAM COLLECTABLES, by Gerald Czulewicz, Sr. Available here at Amazon.

Vintage 4th of July themed post cards are an interesting aspect of Americana. Raphael Tuck and Tabor Prang were two of the prominent artists whose work was produced on post cards as full-color lithographs. Vintage postcards often include a handwritten message and canceled postage.

Of the cards in my collection, three of them are postmarked: one dated 1907 and the other two dated 1912. You can see that one was postmarked from the "S. S. Colon" on Independence Day, 1912.

If you visited my post on National Flag Day~June 14th, you know I attended the OpSail 2000 in NYC. I purchased these post cards depicting US stamps used through the years that feature Lady Liberty.

I had them specially postmarked that day.

These patriotic ice-fishing decoys were a find at the NY Pier Antique Show in 2000. They are unsigned, but definitely vintage.

I doubt that the patriotic motif is typical of most of these vintage ice-fishing decoys, but it was the stars and strips that caught my attention. The vintage tin which features Betsy Ross and the Pledge of Alligance once held some type of food item.

It's traditional in many areas across the United States for outdoor patriotic concerts to be held under the stars the evening of July 4th. Many end with spectacular fireworks displays, and all are the perfect venue for a summer picnic. My vintage picnic basket is from the 60s, a gift from my father the year I went off to the university. Unfortunately there will be no outdoor concert or fireworks in our city this year. Fireworks have been banned and the concert canceled.

No patriotic parade, concert, ceremony, or party would be complete without the ubiquitous paper flag to help one cool off in the summer heat.

Many families in neighborhoods across our town will gather Monday Morning on the 4th of July for their own local neighborhood parades. Vintage cars like this 1952 MGTD beauty will be a popular sight. I'll be at our neighborhood parade, and once it cools down in the evening, we will picnic with a few of our neighbors.

I "heart" Americana.
I'm proud to be an American!

What will you do to celebrate this year?

Wishing each of you a Happy 4th of July!


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. Sarah....I'm always so in awe of your collections. Your Patriotic Collection is amazing! Thanks so much for sharing...makes me want to start my own...and I just got through telling HiHoney I'm not collecting any more anything! In fact I'm downsizing my Patriotic Fabric Stash...need any? Check it out on my Pink Saturday Post. Hope you have a Great Fourth of July!

  2. Your Patriotic theme collection is to die for!! Each piece is just so very special, if I start to mention the ones I love, I would need an entire post...therefore, I am loving all your collection, new and vintage! Have a wonderful holliday and enjoy! Lots of hugs, FABBY

  3. You are not allowed to come to my house over the 4th!!! I would be so humiliated as I don't have a thing up and don't have much to put up! What a beautiful collection you have. You have definitely shamed me and inspired me at the same time! Have a wonderful 4th of July.

  4. What a wonderful collection! Have a lovely 4th weekend...

  5. Such a cheery post! I love it all - especially the spirit in which it is all enjoyed and shared. Of course, you know that I zeroed right in on that pretty cross stitch pillow! I have a 'thing' about acorns and am presently stitching a little pillow that features acorns.

  6. Wow! You are definitely ready for the Fourth of July! Your Uncle Sams are fabulous! I, too, use things like this to help my third grade students make a connection with American symbols and figures. Have a most blessed 4th of July!

    Waving from Our Back Porch,

  7. Wow Sarah, That's some collection. I of course love the first picture with the red and white quilt, Wouldn't mind that one anyday.

    Happy 4th to you and yours.

  8. Of all of your collections dear Sarah, I think that this is my favourite.
    Just stunning, the rooster is of course my favourite of all.
    Have fun at the parade and picnic on Monday, I'll be thinking of you.

  9. Sweet, sweet Sarah,

    Thank you dearest for coming to visit both of my posts; it certainly is a WONDERFUL WORLD when we can see all the potentials in each other when we listen, LOOK, and create. I love how you celebrate in your home. Doesn't our environment make a difference in how we produce? The fourth of July really makes me feel comfortable. I remember the watermelon at the family picnics, in fact, I can still hear the laughter of all the children as we all played and didn't care about the time....our parents took care of all the food, the clean-up and the travel back home...ahhh, I am having synesthesia right now!


  10. I love your Americana collection Sarah! Especially the stilt Uncle Sam and the fish decoys! Your picnic basket is beautiful, Have a Happy 4th:@)

  11. Oh Sarah, Your Americana collection is making me wish I had started collecting years ago. Your collection is so fabulous and I spent almost an hour just looking at all your great pieces The few Americana things I have certainly wouldn't make much of a display. They're odd pieces like a postcard of the Battle of Trenton, sent to my grandmother, an old CD Kenny trading card of Fitzhugh Lee surrounded by patriotic bunding, and a few flag pins. I do have family things related to the Civil War, but don't know if that would be considered Americana, lol
    Thank you so much for sharing your collection.
    Hugs and have a happy Independence Day.

  12. You have the best collection of Americana. I have one little ole Uncle Sam...but I would love to find more. I went to HG yesterday...they had nothing. I hope you have a wonderful 4th!

  13. Sarah

    This is an excellent post. What a treat to be reminded of the monumental importance of the 4th of July through this incredible collection of folk art.


  14. Sarah, What a fantastic post to celebrate July Fourth. Your collection of patriotic folk art is amazing, not to mention all the red, white and blue decor. Your vignettes are so beautifully done. I also love your card collection and the stamps. Your students were so lucky to have you as there teacher. I'm sure they left your class with an appreciation of America's Birthday. Your picnic basket is so precious, a gift from your dad. It looks perfect for the concert. Fabulous post Sarah, thanks for going all out and giving us such inspiration. I appreciate you so much.
    Happy Fourth of July

    The French Hutch

  15. Hi lovely lady.
    I love your collection of Folk Art so Beautiful sweet lady !!! I hope you and your lovely family have a Great 4th of July.
    xxoo Diane

  16. Love your decorations! We are getting ready. I'll be packing a picnic and looking forward to vacation days! Happy 4th!

  17. Hi Sarah and your collections just amaze me! Your patriotic collection is so wonderful and you display everything so wonderfully!
    I'm sure you were a wonderful teacher too.
    Have a fabulous 4th.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  18. What a wonderful collection you've put together over the years.

  19. You have such a great collection of patriotic decor. Loved seeing it. I've decided after seeing so many post with old post cards, I am going to start searching for some patriotic ones. Love yours!!


  20. You have a wonderful collection of Americana, the Lady Liberty.
    Have a great weekend!

  21. Sarah,
    Darling display of vintage and new "Uncle Sam's". Thank you for putting one in a festive spirit for the Fourth of July!!!

  22. Hi Sarah!
    That's quite a collection! I love so many of your sweet little figures and would have bought those ice fishing lures too.
    (We are big fishermen in my house!)

    May I ask... why are your fireworks and concerts cancelled? That is sad....seems like a national tradition.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend and fun picnic with your neighbors!

  23. I spotted the Nancy Thomas uncle sam right away (I used to paint for her in early 1990's) I used to live in Yorktown VA. then (airforce family) I really love that flag hen too very very cool collection

  24. Oh, my, Sarah..this is such a beautiful collection. I love every single thing and couldn't chose a favorite if I tried.
    It must be such fun to come to your home..a home full of treasured collections...and mighty fine ones, at that. :)
    Happiest 4th, dear friend.
    xoxo bj

  25. What a fun post! I love all of your Uncle Sam's!!!!! Your needlepoint is lovely. Happy 4th!

  26. Your collection is so beautiful. There isn't one piece I wouldn't love to have. Your needlepoint pillow is an exquisite work of art. Did you make the quilt? Happy fourth, many blessings, marlis

  27. Fabulous displays! Have a happy 4th!!

    Susan and Bentley

  28. Hi Sarah, this is a fascinating collection! I never realized that Uncle Sam was such a popular collectible, but of course it does make sense. I have always found him to be interesting. My kids have given my sister several Uncle Sam items, because she is their "Aunt Sam" and he would be the perfect guy for her! Happy 4th--try to stay cool. Linda

  29. Oh, my goodness, Sarah! What an extensive patriotic collection you have. Thanks so much for sharing and I am so honored that you stopped by my blog. Have a wonderful 4th of July!!!

  30. Another wonderful collection, Sarah! I love the whirligig! How cute. Your own for Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty!
    Hope you are enjoying the holiday. Not so nice today, tomorrow supposed to be better!

  31. Sarah, You have quite a collection - love your Uncle Sams and Lady Liberty and your red, white and blue chicken!

  32. Sarah,
    You have the best collection of Uncle Sams ever! And I love those vintage fishing lures! What neat stuff. Thanks for linking it up at Home Sweet Home! Have a great 4th weekend!

  33. Sarah, I have never seen anyone with such a vast collection of patriotic memorabilia before! Amazing... Love the striped plant holders and fun fishing decoys. They are so unique. Enjoy your holiday!
    ~ Sue

  34. What a wonderful collection of fun and interesting pieces you have. I love seeing what catches people's eye.
    By the way, I so appreciate your using your blog name in your links. Makes it so much easier to find!

  35. Sarah, I loved seeing all of your patriotic decor again. You have some of the best pieces. That whirligig is just wonderful. I wish I could see it in action. laurie

  36. Sarah:

    You have such amazing collections. Thanks for sharing your fourth of July decor with Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

  37. Wonderful collections and artfully displayed. I especially like the needlepoint trio you did yourself. Your post cards are impressive also.
    Enjoyable post. I know your students loved your patriotic unit.


Thank you to each of you who take the time to leave a comment. I read and appreciate each and every one and will respond to any questions. Your notes are the only way I know who has stopped in for a visit.