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A Few Handy “Hacks” For Summertime Entertaining

Last weekend we finally pulled the patio table and chairs out of storage (the corner of our yard) and set them up on the patio. I can’t tell you how excited I was about this! I absolutely love when the weather finally gets nice enough to start dining outdoors. There’s just something about dining al fresco that is good for the soul! :-)

Summertime Entertaining

As I got to thinking about outdoor dining and entertaining this summer, there were a couple of things I decided I really needed to improve the overall experience. One was a functional tablecloth and the other was a utensil caddy! So with those two must-haves in mind, I headed over to our local JCPenney to see what I could find. Little did I know how many more things I would find that I must have! :-)

Summertime Entertaining

My first find of the day was in the bedding department where I found my “tablecloth.” I had bought a tablecloth for our patio table before, but I grew frustrated with it because it was so lightweight it would blow off at the slightest breeze. This Everyday “Spring Fever” quilt was just the ticket! Thin enough to set your tableware on without it falling over, but heavy enough not to blow away. It just needed a little “modification” to make it work on our umbrella table.

Here is how I modified my quilt/tablecloth for an umbrella table:

Summertime Entertaining

Find the center of your cloth/quilt by folding in quarters. Cut from one side of the cloth to the center. In the center, trace around something roughly the size of your umbrella pole, then cut out that circle. You could conceivably use it just like this, but you would most likely be sorry after the first time you washed it. I decided to finish off the cut edges with some fabric binding, but you could also just zigzag stitch along the edges as well.

Since I didn’t have any binding handy (and didn’t want to run to another store) I made some “homemade” binding using an old cotton pillowcase. Here is a good tutorial on how to make your own seam binding. You can also use fusible seam binding if you don’t have a sewing machine.

Summertime Entertaining

After sewing on the binding, I added 4 small velcro strips to keep the cut edges together once they were on the table and I had just created the umbrella patio table tablecloth of my dreams! :-)

Now to dress up the rest of the table! The idea of making a quilt into a tablecloth captured my imagination and while I was at JCPenney browsing, I came up with a few more summer entertaining “hacks” that I love!

Summertime Entertaining

Summertime Entertaining

Tissue dispenser turned Napkin Dispenser

I found this adorable little Casa Tissue Cover in the bathroom accessories area at JCPenney and turned it into a napkin dispenser by cutting a paper towel roll in half and pulling out the cardboard core. Voila! A quick and easy way to make sure everyone has a napkin at hand!

Summertime Entertaining

Summertime Entertaining

Soap Dispensers turned Condiment Dispensers

I fell in love with these cute green glass lotion dispensers, also found in the bathroom accessories department! I was a little concerned whether they would dispense my condiments easily, but they worked like a charm and look so pretty on my summer table!

Summertime Entertaining

Summertime Entertaining

Washcloths turned Cloth Napkins

Why spend money on fancy cloth napkins (which I never can seem to find in a color or pattern I like anyway) when you can pick up a whole package of crisp, clean white washcloths that are infinitely more absorbent anyway? :-)  I also found these napkin rings that coordinated nicely with the dispensers above.

Summertime Entertaining

Summertime Entertaining

And last but certainly not least…..

Metal Rack with Bowls turned Utensil Caddy!

This caddy ended up serving two purposes!  I took the beautiful white bowls that came with the metal rack and re-purposed them for salad topping bowls and replaced the bowls with some inexpensive flower pots. Two tabletop solutions in one! That’s my kinda deal!

Summertime Entertaining

None of these summer tablescape “hacks” required any modification like the tablecloth did, but I still think they are so fun and functional!

Summertime Entertaining

Summertime Entertaining

One final “find of note” that I picked up during my JCPenney excursion… this wonderful tray that is covered with little rubber “polka dots” which keep cups, glasses, or what have you, from slipping and sliding when transporting from kitchen to outdoor table and back again. I can tell I’m going to get lots of use out of this!

Summertime Entertaining

So what do you think? I just love how my updated summertime table turned out!

If you’re looking for some fun and functional ideas for summertime entertaining, head on over to JCPenney or JCP.com and check out the great Memorial Day deals going on now.

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • I absolutely love your blog and find the majority of your post’s
    to be exactly what I’m looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content
    for you personally? I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on most
    of the subjects you write about here. Again, awesome site!

  • I let my kids make french toast with all of the saved butts of loaves of bread. It saves money and they think it’s a blast! And I don’t have to cook! yay!

    coriwestphal at msn dot com

  • My summer lifehack is to make up peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and freeze them for an easy make-ahead lunch option for my son.

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

  • Love the soap dispensers for condiments! My tip: dryer sheets contain ingredients that keep gnats at bay so keep one handy in your purse or picnic basket.

  • I freeze empty half gallon milk cartons full of water. I’m never out of ice and the large blocks last a good long time in a cooler (and don’t get water all over everything!).

  • I like hosting and going to potluck pool parties! It’s so much awesome food and not one person has the burden of cooking for everyone.

  • I have a few favorite #LifeHacks. If you know ahead of time that your family members are not going to be home for dinner on certain nights then cook a huge meal ahead of time. Our family enjoys left overs on busy nights when we are on the run whether it be for work, school, or other engagements. It is nice to sit down to a fresh hot meal when everyone is home, but making extra food is great so that anyone can reheat the left overs on the busier nights during the summer.

  • One favorite #LifeHack would be to have lots of pretty planters of flowers around our pool. It is great to relax and they smell so great

  • When I cook I make enough for two nights and freeze one meal to use for another night, it really cuts down on the time I spend cooking.

  • My favorite Summer #Lifehack is the chore lists for the kids. It teaches them responsibility as well as helps keep the house clean.

  • My favorite summer #LifeHack is to plant lots of veggies in our garden because then I can’t help but plan meals around them and I eat a lot more healthfully!

  • My favorite lifehack is now that summer is here I use a muffin tin for condiments when BBQ’ing. You can put pickles, ketchup, mustard, olives, onion slices all in the cups and clean up becomes so much easier!

  • My favorite summer #LifeHack isn’t something all that amazing lol but it really helps keep us all healthy and hydrated! We each have our own ice tray that we fill with out favorite drinks so when we want to keep them cold we never have to have watered down so more flavor and less waste!

  • I keep my daughters to go bag packed with sunscreen, bug spray, kleenex, snacks and first aid kit for quick trips out (to the park, etc)

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  • i love the tissue dispenser turned napkin dispenser idea! I’m afraid i’m not creative and don’t think about doing things like that!

  • I have used the table cloth hack, but in a different way. I found a christmas quilt in a second had shop and made it the same way to go around the tree, gorgeous!

  • My kids like to pick berries in the summer and then bring them in expecting me to drop everything and bake for them. Instead I use my favorite summer #lifehack and have them crush them up themselves and but them into popcicle molds. They get a healthy treat and I don’t have to bake.

  • You’re Summer time table setting is absolutely Beautiful Jillee. I love all the great ideas …especially the washcloths serving as cloth napkins. .brilliant for messy grilled foods…such as butter corn on the cobb mmmm. I’m ready to get my outdoor table all fancied up for a fresco style Father’s Day Brunch. Thanks for the super ideas and getting my creative side motivated after this long harsh Winter. :)

  • When cleaning a room, I use a laundry basket to throw everything that doesn’t belong in the room into the basket. Then I make my kids put away everything in the basket, because it is always their stuff!

  • Having the kids organize their toys in priority boxes – highest, middle, lowest – then donate the lowest box to keep toys tidy
    tvollowitz at aol dot com

  • A lifehack I use every summer is to freeze grapes! They are a great way to cool off and they’re a sweet tasty snack at the same time :)

  • I never would have thought to use soap dispensers for the condiments. I love it!!!!

    My #LifeHack
    I love using colorful Melamine mixing bowl sets– JC Penney sells some pretty ones– or bake ware like the Rachael Ray selections– at the table to hold cutlery, napkins and food. They are bright cheery colors and sturdy enough for outside.

  • Love all your finds and ideas! My favorite summer #lifehack is to freeze coffee into ice cubes for use in iced coffee. It cools the coffee without watering it down and saves me from going to the coffee shop. Thanks for the chance to win!

  • For outdoor drinks, use mason jars, rims, and upsidedown paper cupcake liners with a straw poked through. They are very decorative and fun, you can write each guest’s name on the cupcake liner, and it keeps bugs out of the drinks :D

  • I like to use vinyl table cloths for picnic blankets. Just turn them top side down on the grass and sit on the soft side. Pick them up cheap after holiday sales.

  • My #lifehack is to fill a glass pasta sauce jar with marbles and put a solar light on top for fun and safe patio lighting. Love the condiment dispensers from lotion containers. Can go right back in the fridge without the mess.

  • Our lifehack – when it’s too hot to be outside in the summer we go indoors turn on the Wii and have fun with Just Dance!
    thank you

  • I think our family’s most important summer “lifehack” would be to remember it’s okay to break plans and stop chores to enjoy the sunshine and outdoors on a pretty day.

    chambanachik(at)gmail(dot)com

  • My fave summer life hack is to have a downtime box for each boy. When it is quiet time or I need to make dinner, do chores, etc. they are to get their box and quietly enteral themselves. I change it each week.

  • I love all the ideas you listed. I think my favorite is the tablecloth, then the napkin dispenser. Both are great problem-solvers for those breezy days.

    Thanks for the giveaway!!

  • Love the idea of tissue dispenser turned Napkin Dispenser, brilliant! My favorite summer #LifeHack is doing Mason Jar Cobb Salad for summer BBQ parties.
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

  • My favorite summer #Lifehack is to bring a cooler with drinks and snacks when we go on summer day trips. It saves lot of time and money when my kids need a drink or something to eat.

  • My summer #LifeHack is more outdoor playtime meaning less mess and cleaning inside! One great activity my children love to do is to attach bubble wrap to their feet and then jump in kid friendly paint and create amazing works of art.

  • LOVE your soap dispenser idea! My favorite hack is to decorate coffee cans. I use them for utensils and planters for my outside tables. And I buy all table cloths, napkins and summer themed decorations at the end of the season. They are always deeply discounted.

  • My favorite #lifehack is preparing meals for the week and freezing them for busy nights when I don’t have a lot of time to cook.

  • My favorite summer hack is having my hubby do all the outdoor cooking – ha!
    No, really, I freeze brewed tea in ice cube trays and use the cubes to chill freshly brewed tea. No dilution! And we drink sweet tea here, so I use stevia to sweeten without calories or side effects.
    I also use a children’s wading pool to keep my hens nice and cool on our 100+ degree days. They love it! :-)

  • Love your creative ideas. My favorite hack for summertime is to use cupcake liners upside-down on top of the glasses, just cut a hole in the center for the straw and no worries about those pesky bugs landing in your drink.

  • I definitely always light a few citronella candles to keep the bugs away. Plus, just a dessert potluck is a great way to keep the costs down and still have the fun of entertaining.

  • I like to take the shepherd plant hangers and insert them in pots of sand so the kids have a place to hang their towels when they hop in the pool!

  • Our family reunions are held on July 4th under a pavillion with long folding tables. We use clothes pins (the clip type) to secure the plastic table coverings to the underside of the table.

  • I found you through Craft Gossip. These are great ideas! I’ve used a quilt for a table cloth before, but never thought about how to make it umbrella friendly! Good job!

  • […] Jillee of One Good Thing addressed a common issue with typical tablecloths used outside, edges flapping up in the wind. She used a store-bought quilt as the base fabric then modified it to fit a patio umbrella table. Learn how she did it, visit her blog post, A Few Handy “Hacks” For Summertime Entertaining. […]

  • My summer #LifeHack is to attach many of my plants and summer garden to a drip system so i don’t have to run out and water constantly.

  • My summertime sorta “hack” is using a cooling rack on top of a plastic cafeteria-style tray covered in tin foil, to serve barbequed meats. The drippings fall through the mesh cooling rack and the meats look more appetizing. Clean up is easy with the tin foil.

    Love the bed cover turned tablecloth idea! Thanks for sharing.

  • Love the idea of using wash clothes for napkins. Also love the tissue roll holder used as a paper towel holder. (How DID you cut that roll in half?) And I LOVE the repurposed soap dispensers! That’s just plain nifty.

    These are all fun hacks! And so … do-able. Thank you for sharing them.

    My grandchildren vote unanimously for frozen grapes – which they put in everything from drinks, to slushies, to desserts, to their bare hands – as our “favorite” summertime hack.

  • Love the quilt used as a tablecloth! For exactly the same reasons…..annoying when your tablecloth flips up into your food or drink…..

  • My favorite idea was using white washcloths as napkins! I love that you could just throw them in the wash with some bleach if needed, and they don’t blow away as paper napkins tend to do. Another winner, Jillee! Thank you!

  • I like freezing summer fruit for use in the winter months. You still get fresh berry flavor in desserts in the dead of the winter! :-)

  • My main summer hack is using water bottles and juice boxes as my “ice pack” when travelling or going to the lake. I freeze several and use those as a layer between drinks and food. They last for hours and by the time we’re ready to eat, they are partially thawed and make for the coldest drinks in the cooler! The juice boxes end up slushy, which my kids love!

  • We use kitchen towels as napkins and heavy duty plastic utensils that can be thrown away. I have the old fashioned squeeze bottles for mustard and ketsup. Not as fancy as yours but better than the jars they come in. Love the paper towel dispenser!

  • Baby wipes are my life hack. Helps that I have babies but I use them more on faces, hands, tables, clothes, etc than I do on tushes!!

    I’ve never done the math on wipes vs paper towels, but one wipe gets WAY more sticky off than 1 paper towel!!

  • Love your ideas! Your table looks great. I think the tray with the grippy dots would be especially helpful to me this summer. I have lightweight outdoor glasses that want to tip over!

  • Thank you, Jillee, for all the inspiring hints you provide on a daily basis. You are amazing!

    When the grandkids come to visit, I like to keep a variety of soft drinks in a cooler on the patio, right outside the kitchen door. This frees valuable real estate in the fridge!

  • I use 2 dollar store bins to store everything I need for outdoor eating so that I can have an impromptu get together at any time. This is much easier with 2 little kids and a messy house to take an unexpected visitor outside!

  • My summer #LifeHack is for my dogs! I freeze a mixture of half chicken broth and half water in ice cube trays. Then when we’re outside playing and they’re panting and hot, they can cool down and get a treat at the same time! :)

  • Oh my gravy! I am in awe at your clever thinking! These are inspired! I think the best for me are the oh so cute pump-dispenser-turned-condiment holders.

    I have made a couple of table cloths for my table; I have made weights that clip onto the corners to keep the table cloth from flying away. They’re like tablecloth jewelry hanging from the edges of the table cloth.

  • My life hack is from Snoopy when he sets up tables for Thanksgiving dinner. I use assorted chairs and tables from old sets, and a ping pong table for outdoor parties. When they are not being used in this manner, they are in my garage being used as counter space for plastic bins that hold holiday items. However, unlike Snoopy, I’ve never gotten into a fight w/a chaise lounge, although I’m dying to serve popcorn, toast, and jelly beans for Thanksgiving dinner one year to see if anyone catches on! :)

  • My #lifehack tip that makes my life easier is that I keep a spray bottle full of water and white vinegar to clean the kitchen counters.

  • Great ideas. I keep a basket caddy for silverware/plates on our kitchen table all year round. We use washcloths for our napkins (bundle of them at Kohls is really inexpensive). They fit in the caddy where the plates are supposed to go and some plastic cups fit in the cubbies to hold the real silverware. It’s always ready to go when we want to eat outside. Also handy inside as the table is easy to set with the utensils right there.

  • Never thought of using washcloths for napkins but have used dishcloths instead. At the end of the season, into the kitchen they go for a second lease on life.

  • Your ideas are great. I also, repurpose sheets and make table cloths–works well (a lot less expensive) when needing a lot of them! They wash and dry so nicely!

  • my #lifehack is my organizing my makeup drawer which is all my lipsticks coordinated by color and shadows by color and so on so on.. but i also organize it on how often i use it. So everything i use everyday goes in the front.. lol sounds kind of crazy but it works for me!

  • My favorite #lifehack is preparing meals for the week, including work lunches on Sunday and then putting them in the freezer/fridge. It saves so much time! Also, I clean the shower during and right after I take a hot shower. It loosens up the dirt and makes it easier to clean.

  • I love the soap dispenser idea! Who would have thought! I think it’s time I set up my patio furniture. Thanks for all the wonderful ideas!

  • I love the tablecloth. I don’t have a sewing machine but it looks like something I could do with iron on binding. Thanks for all the ideas.

  • It’s going to cost $96 (on sale) per chair to replace 4 fan back patio chair cushions. Not happening at my house! So I am making removable chair cushion covers from painters drop cloths and I will wash them as needed. Cost will be $30 total for cloth, heavy duty thread and Velcro! And that’s my FINAL ANSWER!

  • I love the dispensers for the condiments… Hope they are food safe – will be checking that out soon!

    The paper towel dispenser is a great idea also. Will have to read all the posts to see if you explained how you cut it!

  • I love them all but the tablecloth is definately my favorite. A great idea to get the weight to not blow away but thin enough to not look like your bedding is outside.

  • My favorite hack has to be the fire pit we made from some heavy duty screen door cover and cinder blocks the boys and I painted,then stacked in a square . We put the screen on top and use it for cook outs and making S’ mores or just sitting around the fire.

  • I love the quilt and soap dispenser ideas! I make container candles using recycled soup or bean cans. They add a lovely touch to outdoor eating in the evenings. :)

  • Ssssh, don’t tell… our lemonade is not fresh squeezed, but add a few slices of lemon to a pitcher of lemonade made from frozen concentrate and people think it’s the real deal – presentation is everything!

  • I place a quart size mason jar or two filled 1/2way with soapy water for folks to place the used silverware to prevent food from getting dried on.
    I take a fan outside to circulate the air and create a breeze of our own.
    Clean your grill with a halved onion (or lemon when grilling seafood) hold the onion (lemon) with extra long tongs and scrub the grill while the flame is on. Adds flavor & no toxic chemicals to worry about.

  • My summer ‘hack’ is to sew pockets at the inside corners of your tablecloth then inserting either rocks or I use lead weights (like on your tires or for fishing). My husband had a lot of tire lead weights waiting for a purpose. I packed some in a ziplock bag (lead is potentially poisonous) and thoroughly washed my hands afterwards. The weights keep the tablecloth from flipping up !!!!!

  • I love that everything is white and pretty…so easy to get the stains out of! I can’t think of any of my own hacks…using the hose for clean up is my favorite one!

  • I haven’t tried this yet but I am going to this summer…I saw it online. My idea is to use cupcake liners under the ring on the mason jar lid and stick a straw in it and use that for drinks. It should keep flies and creepy crawlies out of the beverages!

  • I can’t wait to start grilling outside again. I love to cook veggies outside on the grill in foil packets. Our only concession to outdoor decor is stringing clear lights around the yard, which is very pretty.

  • Jillee, I just LOVE your blog!! So many creative ideas that are so practical! I love the repurposed dispensers. I often see them on clearance shelves… but how many does one person need!? LoL! Thank You for all you do! I think you are brilliant!

  • Love the napkin idea, with kids always have messes to clean up and putting napkins under plates doesn’t work. My “hack” is labeling food dishes with chalkboard paint on mini chalkboards. That way everyone knows what is being served and if they want recipe they can ask because they know what’s it called.

  • My favorite hack of the summer? Keep a big basket on permanent standby with marshmallows, chocolate squares, and graham crackers! You never know when it will come in handy!

  • I took a six-pack beer holder, decoupaged it with some nice scrapbook paper (which also gave it a nice water seal) and use it to hold condiment bottles, utensils and napkins. Its easy to cart in and out, was free (I work in a beer store- we have tons of these cartons) and takes up very little space for the tiny table we have on our deck. Best thing? I can pack it back flat when we’re done and store it in the drawer I keep the grill supplies in.

  • I reuse a 6 pack bottle carrier as a utensil caddy when we are camping. To dress it up, they are easily covered with wrapping paper or scrapbook paper.

  • You are so creative! I look forward to using these hacks in my first home, just purchased yesterday!!! I appreciate all the help I can get from great bloggers like you.

  • My favorite #summmerlifehack is keeping bottles of aloe vera sunburn relief in the fridge. We do our best to keep from burning, but the gel feels amazing if we slip up and burn. You can also take it a step further and freeze it in ice cube trays. When we go to the beach that’s a staple item in our freezer!

  • I like your idea of the soap dispensers for ketchup and mustard. A much easier way to get it on the dogs and burgers and it looks pretty. I like to leave a rolled up washcloth (like you – a much better “napkin”) with the utensils in it by each place at the table, so it is one less thing to carry.

  • LOVE the paper towel/ dispenser idea! Yes, how DID you cut the paper towels in half? Love the condiment dispenser idea too!

    I use painted clay flower pots (with tape over the hole in the bottom) to put my plastic silver ware in :o)

  • These are really great tips! I love that tablecloth. We have around table, so I ‘ll need to be a little more creative. Thanks for sharing these great ideas!

  • My favorite summer #LifeHack is to freeze fruit like grapes or berries and use them to cool off drinks instead of ice so you don’t end up with watered down drinks.

  • Love the hacks, especially the condiment dispensers! I like to use bandanas as napkins. cheap and washable! They come in so many great colors!

  • Love the summer hacks! I have always loved tablecloth alternatives. One I use often is to use a heavier weight shower curtain. Works well for square or round patio tables.

  • All of theseideas are great. What I like do is get clear vinyl by the yard from the fabric store to keep the tablecloth looking fresh. Also, it weighs down the thin cloth as well.

  • One of my favorite Summer hacks is to use those colorful inexpensive “rag rugs” to cover my chair seats and backs ( they are just stiff enough to stay where I place them, and they add color and texture and a festive air to the place) I also use them to create throw pillow “envelopes” to give those a new look to match, and they are great as table runners too. =)

  • I absolutely LOVE the washcloth as napkins idea! Never thought of it before! Something we started doing when my son was very young is carry a vinyl tablecloth in the car. It’s great for any occasion. Turn it vinyl side down and place it on damp/wet grass and you stay dry – and it wipes right off! Its great for picnics, ballgames, playing at the park……. just to name a few!

  • I use a twin size fitted sheet on my table, it is the perfect size and the elastic corners hold it on the table. If it is still a little too windy or needs to be held in place, I put Grommets on the corners and secure the sheet to the legs with ribbon, raffia, pull ties or whatever works with my theme. I mark the hole in the center of the sheet, then finish the raw edges with a XL grommet. Finally I place the umbrella in the center or on its stand. Happy Entertaining!

  • My favorite hack is the quilt to table cloth. I actually on the inside of our house on our dining room used a sheet that we had for the table cloth. Our fitted sheet ripped so I made that into cleaning rags but I still had the top sheet.

  • I just love the soap dispenser hack . I re-purposed a lotion pump bottle to use a dish detergent bottle–a couple of quick pumps for a sink full of dishes. No waste that way! I put one by the bathroom sink as well. Same for my shampoo bottle.

    I think the “Tissue dispenser turned Napkin Dispenser” is a must have for many ways to use it. A quick pop-up paper towel is GENIUS! i WILL DEFINITELY USE THIS ONE. Thank you Jillie, and Every idea on this post is WOW!
    You never disappoint me.

  • My summer hacks have to do with mosquitos. I’ve tried several simple to more difficult to do solutions to keep them away. Rubbing yourself with either vinegar, dryer sheets or the original Listerine (this seems to work best but has to be reapplied often as it evaporates quickly. As I write this, I wonder if I mixed it with the almond oil I use for the essential oils would keep it in place without letting it evaporate) are some of the easiest solutions. You can also try some of the strong smelling creams like Bengay, though that’s a little extreme. You can order the citronella wrist bands to wear whenever out doors. Sprays made up of essential oils including lavender, eucalyptus, lemongrass &/or cinnamon oils mixed with almond oil as a carrier oil.
    Taking cinnamon capsules or cayenne pepper capsules is supposed to work though I caution anyone with gastric problems, especially with ulcers or tendencies to get ulcers not to take at all or at the very least, not w/o checking with your doctor 1st. I tried both of these, w/o even the tiniest thought that they could hurt me & within minutes of taking both I felt like I had swallowed a ball of fire that was lodged in my abdomen & stayed there for several hours. Afterward, my abdomen was sore, as if someone had punched me. Not to mention, that the cayenne pepper leaves with a little party all of it’s own (not severe). The upside was, for about 2 days, the mosquitos left me alone. The last solution is basically left up to your doctor. I had terrible leg cramps that the doctor put me on quinine for. While on it, I went to Haiti on a medical mission trip, & while I also used DEET, I got 0 bites, whereas, my travel mates all got several. Haitian mosquitos are even supposed to be quinine resistant, but I believe the quinine saved me. So there you have it

  • I love these ideas! We don’t have a “picnic” area because my husband walks with a walker and can’t negotiate our uneven backyard BUT, we have a wonderful covered front porch that he can access and that’s where I’m going to set up an eating area and used some of your wonderful ideas. I always buy white wash cloths in bulk for the bathroom so that they can be bleached after they are used and will be sanitary. Thanks for the great ideas.

  • I LOVE every idea but especially the “tablecloth” and the napkins. I’m going to JCP today to see if I can find the perfect items for my outdoor table.

    Thanks for these, Jillee!

  • I love the tablecloth idea but I realized I have only round patio tables…drats! Makes me want to buy an oblong one just to try your great idea. You might consider applying a waterproof spray to the tablecloth to keep stains and spills at bay.

    One year I purchased towels in different sizes and coordinating vibrant colors, then sewed two towels together on three sides (like a pillow slip) to create outdoor cushion and pillow covers. The were easy to take off and wash and extended the use of my faded items.

  • First I LOVE the soap dispensers turned condiment dispensers. I will definitely be using that one this summer. And the idea of the quilt turned tablecloth was GREAT! My favorite hack is to to use flowerpots (which i have painted) for napkins, plastic utensils, etc. For smaller pots, I use a plastic liner and put pickles, onions, lettuce, etc. Thanks for the great ideas!!!

  • We took an old coat rack that we didn’t want in the house anymore and put it outside by the pool to hang wet towels on. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  • I like to put condiments, salt, pepper and pickles on a lazy susan on the table for easy access to all. Thank you for all the great tips today and always!