It’s the annual confluence of presummer activities: end of another school year, graduation and Memorial Day.
On your shopping list could be anything from patriotic plastic tablecovers to gifts for your kids’ teachers.
And a reminder: This weekend, find your way down East and West Main Street in downtown Belleville during Art on the Square and stop in at our local retailers. Some will have extended hours.
Here’s some help.
Teachers receive all kinds of gifts at the end of the school year, so set yourself apart and pick up a glass suncatcher for $3.99 from HereToday in Fairview Heights. I saw all kinds of attractive designs, from iris and grapes to dolphins and butterflies that could be hung in a classroom window (or at home). I suspect that the suncatchers with a big red apple that say “A+ Teacher” might be particularly popular. Look for them at the front of the store on the right.
Two summer accessories: Embellished, tufted footstools from fashion designer Cynthia Rowley offer an exotic look to any indoor sunroom or covered deck. Some are embroidered and all have nail-head trim. You’ll find them for $29.99. Or, toss a few colorful fish pillows onto the outdoor furniture, $19.99 each. All are from AtHome in Fairview Heights.
Fans of garden gnomes can add their collections, but these gnomes are meant to stay indoors. A trio of them can be found at Marshall’s in Fairview Heights. They’re made of polymer resin so they’re pretty sturdy but definitely not weatherproof. Choose from a classic colorful guy with his red peaked cap, another who holds a shimmering butterfly and a third that sits on a mushroom. Prices are $12.99 to $14.99.
Neighboring Five Below wants you to be so ready for summer. The store is stocked to the gills with all kinds of water games and toys, plus summer goodies, all $5 and under.
When the small outdoor umbrella that I attach to the back of my lounger snapped off in the wind the other night (I forgot to take it in.), I found a replacement at Five Below for $5. I rate it a favorite because it has a built-in adjustable clamp on the end of the handle and it’s lightweight enough I can bend and move it where I want to stay in the shade. You’ll also find $5 beach umbrellas to stick in the sand.
Get ready to show off those toes wearing OkaB sandals (and shoes) from Peace by Piece in downtown Belleville. The made-in-the-USA boutique will hold an OkaB Trunk Show Thursday through May 23. Stop by and view all the styles and colors available to order during this three-day period.
The kids will freak out when you start setting up the Banzai Grand Slam Baseball Slide from Kmart in west Belleville. (Check other locations.) Yes, we need warm weather for the youngsters to don swimwear, but when they do, they can slide the bases and get soaked while they’re doing it. You get a 14-by-14-foot water slide baseball diamond, bat and ball and a sprinkling water rail that keeps the surface wet and slick as you slide into home. It’s recommended for kids 5 to 12 and costs $24.99.
All jewelry is $3 or $5 at Icing at St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights. Go get some bangles and baubles to brighten up your summer wardrobe. Offer good through Sunday.
Two good deals I spied at Lowe’s this week. Check your local store for a 5-foot wide, 2 -foot deep Rubbermaid storage shed for $199, regularly $299.
Plus, a very nice 3-cubic-foot yard cart for $59.98, regualry $69.98. It has a 600-pound capacity.
A hidden retail gem in the metro-east is the Sears Outlet store in Fairview Heights. Located in the same shopping center complex as Gordman’s north of Interstate 64, check out the big savings — 35 to 50 percent off — on gas grills with brandnames like Char-Broil and Thermos.