Top Drawer

October 12, 2012 

The Eighteen25 blog offers up a cute, kid-friendly way to decorate sidewalks and porches for Halloween.

COURTESY OF EIGHTEEN25 BLOG

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Reader’s best

We’re looking for a new batch of home and garden tips to highlight. If we use your tip, you’ll be entered in our quarterly drawing for a Target gift card. Send your tips to topdrawer@newsobserver.com. Be sure to include your name, street address and city. Put “best tips” in the subject line.

Best for organizing

Does your refrigerator look like a random explosion of business cards, school memos, takeout menus and athletic schedules? Would you like to reclaim some semblance of order?

The IHeartOrganizing blog shows how to turn the interior of a cabinet door into a discreet organizing central. A guest blogger describes how she bought two pieces of sheet metal at a hardware store, glued them to the inside of the detached door and weighted them down with books to dry. She then took a strip of pine wood, cut it to fit the width of the door, glued magnetic strips to the back and four clothespins to the front of the wood, which she then painted and attached to the metal sheeting about halfway between top and bottom. From the clothespins, she could hang menus, coupons, schedules and memos without cluttering up her refrigerator or countertops. The top of the organizer is adorned with hooks to hang spare keys, invitations, business cards and magnetized picture frames. You can see the project at http://nando.com/5i.

A friend of mine did something similar. She attached bulletin board squares to the back of her cabinet door and taped a half-pocket folder to the board. She uses the folder to stash her children’s weekly school papers and added Velcro strips to attach keys on Velcro key rings. I have to admit her refrigerator and counters look much better than mine!

Best for Halloween

Start saving those milk jugs now. The Eighteen25 blog offers up a cute, kid-friendly way to decorate sidewalks and porches for Halloween. You’ll need:

• Clean gallon milk jugs

• Black permanent marker

• Craft knife

• String of clear low-wattage Christmas lights

Here’s the how-to:

• Draw spooky or silly faces on the side of the jug opposite of the handle.

• Let your kids color in the faces.

• Using the craft knife (mom), cut a hole large enough to accommodate Christmas lights in the lower backside of the jug.

• Line all of your ghosts up and place several lights in each one.

• Place your group of glowing spirit jugs along your walkway or front porch to welcome holiday ghouls.

See an example of the jugs at http://nando.com/5j.

Reader’s best

Sandy Reul of Cary shares a tip from her mother to keep wood cabinets looking their best: Lightly wipe them with paste wax, wait a couple of minutes and polish them with a soft cloth. This preserves the wood and protects them from fingerprints, soil and stains. Then as part of your kitchen cleaning, apply regular furniture polish on a regular basis. This also works for other wood surfaces with high use: bathroom cabinets, wooden kitchen tables, etc.; really, any surface exposed to lots of water. You don’t need to repeat the paste wax often, maybe only one or two times a year. The secret is not to use much paste and to buff well with a soft cloth.”

Best for pumpkins

Yahoo.com lists a number of ways to extend the life of carved pumpkins. For example, a generous coating of Vaseline inside the scooped-out shell will reportedly firm it up for weeks. Ditto with an all-around inside and outside spritz of equal parts lemon juice and water. Find these and other tips for preserving pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns at http://nando.com/5l.

Best of the tube

On HGTV

Hasty decision: Doug and Ellie rented for two decades. When they were finally able to buy a home, they jumped on it. Now with two children ready to move out, the house no longer fits their needs. A designer comes in to revamp the house with a couple in mind. Will they “Love it? Or List it?” Find out at noon Sunday.

On DIY

Botched basement: Geoff and Lorraine hired a contractor to build their basement. When the basement begins to leak after just two weeks and with the contractor nowhere to be found, they turn to Mike Holmes. Holmes and his team install an interior tile system and fix a dangerous electrical mess. “Holmes on Holmes” airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Best last chance

This weekend is the last chance to visit Wake County’s annual Parade of Homes. More than 200 homes across the county are open to the public to showcase the latest and best in home design, decor, colors, lighting, appliances and technology. The free tour is noon-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. See a list of homes at http://nando.com/5n.

Send news and photos to The News & Observer, P.O. Box 191, Raleigh, N.C. 27602; email topdrawer@newsobserver.com

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