Friday, November 23, 2007



My favorite shopping experience happens in the Dollar Stores! You may ask why? Well, I love a good bargain - and good bargains abound in the Dollar Stores. However, not all Dollar Stores are equal. I prefer the ones that have a set price for everything in the store - $1.00. My current favorite, and has been for years, is Dollar Tree. My favorite items - centerpieces and favors or take aways. Every guest feels special when they are given a little treat to take home.

The above picture shows purses that I bought at the dollar store for $1.00. I inserted small glass vases filled with water and inserted a flower in each, bought at the grocery store. Next I put pink tulle inside to cover the vase and tied a pink ribbon on the handles. Simple and cheap!
Dollar Stores can really stretch your entertaining budget. As a matter of fact, two major entertaining events are what opened my eyes to the value of a good Dollar Store. The two major events that threw me into a panic, uh, I mean had me planning and shopping were my middle son's graduation and my annual Bunco dinner. The Bunco dinner would involve hosting 12 ladies and I did not have 12 plates that matched. My middle son is the only one of my three children that inherited an appreciation of fine dining and all that goes with it (china, crystal, silver), so I was thrilled when he agreed to a garden party for his College Graduation. However, his guest list would include a large number of family and friends. Guests would be in all of the public rooms of the house and spill over unto our covered back patio which would become the main dining area. Paper plates would spoil the elegant image that I was trying to create. I went to the dollar store to find napkins and other entertaining items and that is where I made my first entertaining discovery - pastel, basket weave edged stoneware plates. I bought 20 for one dollar each! I found another Dollar Tree and bought 10 more. Thus began my love for Dollar Store Entertaining.

I believe in using what you have and often at ladies' lunches I would use my mother's dishes with my grandmother's serving pieces. More than one guest has shown great discomfort at the thought of dining on heirlooms. Now, I sprinkle alot of dollar store finds in with the "good stuff" and guests relax. This is great during family gatherings when children will be guests. My favorite story is when I hosted a gathering complete with my best silver. A guest came to me with a broken dish in hand. She was apologetic and mortified at the thought of breaking a precious family heirloom. I told her that if she paid for it, then all would be forgiven. She quickly agreed and I asked her to leave a dollar on the table! It was hard to convince her that the plate was only $1.00.

While the Dollar Store is a great resource, you must check the merchandise often. It is especially important to go at the beginning of each season. The good stuff goes first and fast

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