Tis the season to entertain friends and family al fresco: The weather is getting nicer, and everywhere I go I see people enjoying the outdoors.I recently invited Lizzie, one of my best friends, over for a post-work al fresco dinner and wine night. Since we would be outdoors enjoying the deck, I wanted to mix it up a bit from my normal dinnerware (I’m always looking for ways to mix it up on a budget!).

Immediately I knew a trip to the Dollar Tree was in my future. They have a glassware/dinnerware section that is pretty remarkable for a dollar store (you can even order online). A trusty thrift shop is also a great place to stock up.

I started in the glassware aisle where I found some fun, summery colored glass plates. I went with two lime-green plates and two smaller white plates (though there were plenty of other color choices!). I thought it would be cute to use the lime plates as the charger and the two smaller white plates as the main plate. I grabbed two wine glasses and napkin rings from the same aisle. Then I headed over to the silverware aisle and grabbed two forks and two spoons. I had a plan… It involved turquoise spray paint and a little DIY.

Once I got home, I took a moment to admire my purchases, which cost less than $9 total, and washed and dried the items thoroughly. Next, I set out to turn the silverware, wine glasses and napkin rings into some fun, custom tableware.

I used some painters’ tape to cover the tops of the forks and spoons, exposing only the handles. I did the same to the wine glasses. Then I found my trusty turquoise spray paint and went to work*. I sprayed one even coat on the silverware handles, the wine glass stems and the napkin rings, and once they were dry I removed the painters’ tape. All I needed to add to make the table complete were some candles and napkins.

The menu consisted of a fresh and healthy roma tomato, avocado and basil appetizer, grilled steak gorgonzola and nut salad and sautéed new potatoes (don’t forget the red wine!) all of which took less than 20 minutes to prepare. A fun, delicious al fresco dinner with a good friend for less than $20? Check, please!

Cheers to a lovely spring season!
(Note:  No one could tell that the color pop on my new dinner items was spray paint—I recommend hand-washing these items to preserve the color. However, if you’re using them simply for decoration, you might prefer to scrub off the color and reapply for a different occasion!)
*Keep in mind that spray paint is not food-safe. I only sprayed the areas that would not be ingested.


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