With the warmer weather come thoughts of dining alfresco, and while you don't want to risk breakage of your ironstone dishes, neither should you have to pay top dollar for a few melamine pieces that you're only going to use for three months out of the year.

Enter your friendly neighborhood dollar store. The cost of the set pictured was $9 for a service for four, including four dinner plates, four bread and butter plates and four dessert plates. The daisy shaped plates were packaged at four for a dollar.

Every year dollar stores get in a new array of melamine plates in a rainbow of attractive colors and patterns. Serving pieces are also available, as well as place mats in complimentary colors. Then complete your new outdoor dinnerware with acrylic goblets, wine glasses and tumblers all for a buck apiece. Mix and match to your heart's content, but don't tarry; with dollar stores, it's first come, first served and seasonal items aren't as likely to be restocked as other items in the store. See Garden Party at www.dollarstorestyle.com for the full story.


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