Leaping from one summer holiday to the next, the Fourth of July is little more than three weeks away.
Time to start collecting decorating supplies and thinking red, white and blue.
I approach celebrating the Fourth differently than Memorial Day, mostly because I put the emphasis on how to stay cool outside, keep the bugs away and end the evening with a drive (usually to Mascoutah) to see fireworks.
The only decoration I put out on Memorial Day is the flag, but for the Fourth of July, I really want bunting (check Ben’s in downtown Belleville), too. Inexpensive table decorations are nice as well.
While I was in Target in Fairview Heights this week, I found lots of fun stuff for the table in flag and star motifs, from metal buckets for beverages and citronella candles ($3 and $6), silver star-shaped paper plates and striped paper hot-dog boats ($3, eight-count). Cut-out wooden stars in red, white or blue ($5) and even big patriotic paper placemats the kids can color ($3, four-count).
All eyes on you
Ramp up your Fourth of July flag fashion with sunglasses and jewelry from JC Penney at St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights. It’s hard to miss the big shades with blues lenses and red, white and blue in round or star-shaped frames ($15). Besides earrings and necklaces in solid colors or red and blue, you’ll find a beaded cuff that does a pretty good rendition of the American flag in its design for $24.
If you’re shopping for backyard supplies and don’t have a free CVS Pharmacy ExtraCare card, here’s a good reason to get one: Right now, you can buy one outdoor chair, flip-flops, Igloo cooler, backyard lighting (plus more) and get another for half off. Get a card instantly at the register. A fabric hammock with the card is $14.99, regularly $24.99.
Have a seat, Dad
Check your local Sears store (or Sears Hardware location) for deals through Saturday: Get half off on a Craftsman adjustable hydraulic seat ($49.99) — great for a workshop. Extra-large Craftsman foldable camp chairs are $24.99.
Dad can get 25 percent off all Adidas footwear through Sunday at City G.E.A.R. at St. Clair Square.
Say my name, say my name
The Home Depot in west Belleville is keeping up with the chalkboard craze — in the garden. Weathered-looking wooden crates (two sizes, $9.98 and $14.98) in white-wash and stenciled brown have a big area on the front for writing in chalk just what you’ve put inside, like a large container of impatiens to decorate a shady spot in your garden, or several small pots of petunias out in the sun. It could even be a creative place to store your garden tools.
Worth the trip
A couple years ago, I wrote about an amazing nursery in Madison County north of Brighton. Cottage Garden, 6967 Illinois 111, Piasa, is a family-run business that has a selection of unique tropicals, succulents and coleus like none I’ve seen in the metro-east. Plus, they carry sunpatiens (impatiens that like the sun). Right now, all annuals and tropicals are half off. Call 618-729-4324 for more information and check Facebook. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily during the summer.
National Iced Tea Day
Stop in Fezziwig’s Marketplace in O’Fallon Friday through Sunday and enjoy a complimentary small iced tea to celebrate the day. Tea fans: On Friday, the shop is giving away an iced tea pitcher and a half-pound of tea (up to four different varieties). On Saturday, a pound of tea (up to 8 different varieties) will be given away. No purchase necessary.
On that note, World Market in Shiloh has 20 percent off all tea, kettles, supplies and accessories through Friday only.