Metro-East Living

Finding deals on patio accessories, summer toys

All you need are pillar candles to light up these clearance lanterns from At Home.
All you need are pillar candles to light up these clearance lanterns from At Home.

It was a bit steamy this week, so blasts of cold air were welcome as I headed into At Home (formerly Garden Ridge) in O’Fallon. Big clearance sale going on, with up to half off lots of summer stuff. If you need giant “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves”-size pots for your garden, now’s the time to buy. You might not want to spend $100, but $50 on sale sounds more reasonable. Lots of other ceramic pots and sizes on sale, too.

Outdoor furniture cushions are 25 percent off and many accessories are reduced. I especially like the tall tin luminarias with cutout stars and handles. They’re about $10 on clearance (regularly $19.99); all you need are some pillar candles to put inside. (I saw about a dozen in the aisle where the colored metal trellises are.) Great for summer outdoor entertaining, but could be repurposed for Christmas.

Shop for practical and fun

I’ve started to think of dollar stores as somewhat like old-fashioned dime stores. I go there for great prices on everyday things, like plastic food-storage bags, aluminum foil, glass cleaner, cotton wipes and those packages of faux silver plastic forks/knives/spoons that I really like. Beyond practical, kids can go crazy in a store like Dollar Tree, where colorful toys are cheap. I spied a variety of water squirters, big and small, plus, cool hand-held rollers for making impressions in the sand. And sand molds in sea-creature shapes are always fun.

Garden dad gift idea

Garden whirligigs are for guys, too. Forget pixies and butterflies; the Home Depot in Fairview Heights has 6-foot-tall metal stakes with vintage-looking motorcycle or pickup truck spinners on top for $24.99.

Home barista

Barnes & Noble in Fairview Heights is more than books. The cafe offers coffee drinks and dessert from Starbucks, and there are a couple gift displays. I had to chuckle when I saw the flat tin of Aerolatte cappuccino stencils for $7.95. You have to be a dedicated fan of foam on top of your coffee to turn yourself into this level of an at-home barista. Basically, you hold one of the six stencils in the kit over your coffee (already topped with foam) and sprinkle cinnamon over it to create a pattern.

I’m thinking the stencils could have other uses, like putting one over a chocolate cake and using powdered sugar.

Do these deals now

Chico’s at the Shoppes at St. Clair by the mall has 30 percent off the entire store through Sunday.

At Macy’s, buy three pair or more of shoes or sandals and take 40 percent off. Buy two pair and take 30 percent off; 25 percent off one pair. The deal is good through Sunday and take note: Offer is on select regular, sale and clearance-priced women’s footwear, so you could walk away with some real bargains.

For brides and grooms looking for gifts, Things Remembered at the mall has buy one, get one half off on the entire store through Sunday.

Stop in Francesca’s at St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights this weekend. Check out the 20 percent off sale, but also the new arrivals in jewelry and clothing. I like the beaded and stacked stretch or coil bracelets for $14 to $18. Some have tassels, too.