Dress up a few lanterns with ribbon, add some sunny fabric, and your plain canvas umbrella is ready to party. The decorations aren't permanent, so you can change the colors anytime you wish (yellow and gold for late summer, pink for a little girl's birthday party, or red and blue for the Fourth of July).
To make the festive rim of hanging panels, you'll need one small wooden dowel and one piece of fabric for each panel of your umbrella.
1. Measure the span of your umbrella's ribs (from outside edge to outside edge) and cut dowels and rectangles of fabric to fit just inside the spans. (For our umbrella's 40-in. spans, we cut 39 1/2-in. lengths of dowel and 10- by 38-in. pieces of fabric.)
2. To finish each panel, fold the long edge of the fabric panel over the dowel and use a hot glue gun to attach the fabric to itself, forming a channel that the dowel fits inside.
3. Once the glue is dry, tuck the ends of the dowel underneath the umbrella between the wooden ribs and the canvas so the panel hangs down at the umbrella's outside edge.
4. Hot-glue bright ribbons (short enough to keep them away from candles) to the bottoms of your favorite glass laterns and use clear fishing line to hang. As a final touch, attach more fluttery ribbons to the outside corners of the umbrella with safety pins.
Table, chairs, and umbrella from Smith & Hawken (800/981-9888).