Garden Party

by Marlene Alexander

It's that time of year again when we hose down the garden furniture and fire up the barbecue. Life has once again moved outside and that means entertaining alfresco.

Melamine is a good way to go for casual dining out of doors and these colorful square plates were only a dollar apiece as were the goblets. The small flower-shaped plates were two for a buck and we saw them in four different colors.

The serving pieces we chose coordinate nicely with the dinnerware. They include a large salad bowl, a pair of rubber-handled salad servers, a juice jug and a smaller version of those handy party tubs for keeping drinks cold. Our favorite dollar store, Dollarama, always gets in a nice variety of placemats. This year, we found these vinyl-coated striped ones with coordinating solid colors so you can mix and match. Four dollars gets you four placemats.

If your outdoor socializing goes into the night, candles make lovely accents. We substituted these 5" candle lanterns for the small wind chimes that originally came on these 27" garden hooks. The lanterns are attached with small garden ties and the candles came in a box of three for a dollar. Each of the lanterns cost a dollar.

When you're making plans for your next outdoor gathering, start with a trip to the dollar store and save your money for the T-bones.

Marlene Alexander is a writer living in Ontario, Canada. For more on dollar store shopping, visit her website at

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