Top drawer: Joyce Clark Hicks finds the best for your home and garden

November 2, 2012 

Best seasonal switch

Don’t forget to turn your clocks back one hour before bed Saturday for Eastern Standard Time, which begins Sunday. It’s also a great time to check some things off your annual or seasonal “To do” checklist. The Innovatively Organized website suggests that you:

• Check/replace your batteries in your smoke- and carbon monoxide-detectors.

• Check/replace the light bulbs with fluorescents.

Check/replace flashlight batteries.

• Check/replace expired items in your first aid/emergency kit.

• Check/replace furnace filter.

• Check pressure of fire extinguisher.

• Check/replace kitchen water filter.

• Clean your oven/stove.

• Toss outdated food in your refrigerator and pantry.

Check expiration dates on your medications; dispose of outdated ones.

• Clean out the dryer filter and hoses.

• Reverse direction of your ceiling fan to draw warm air into living spaces.

You can see the complete list at http://tinyurl.com/8r8lrga.

Reader’s mom knows best

Leslie Mahan of Raleigh shares her mom’s solution for cleaning hard-water stains from her toilet. “My 90-year-old mother was raving about this cleaning block that gets rid of the hard water stains in the bathroom johns. I have tried everything.” Sure enough, she reports, Earthstone bathroom cleaning blocks work. You can find the blocks at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/8nkwbj4

Best DIY website

If you’re strapped for cash or a wannabe do-it-yourselfer, Familyhandyman.com aims to be your new best friend.

Visit http://tinyurl.com/cfyvobb for easy-to-follow how-tos on doing everything from fixing a bifold closet door and creating a sleek and creative coat rack to customizing a closet and repairing appliances.There’s a DIY advice blog and tips forum, handy plumbing and painting tips and much more. So what are you waiting for? Don’t just sit there. Do it yourself!

Best for home fragrance

Hundreds of Web pinners are apparently taken with the aroma that occasionally hits shoppers at Williams-Sonoma stores. So says the feed blowing up my Pinterest account lately. Here’s how the One More Moore blogger, a former W-S employee, brings that scent home in a way you can copy. http://tinyurl.com/8gcrznd

You’ll need

• A small stockpot filled about 2/3 full with water.

• 1 lemon, sliced

A few sprigs of rosemary

• 1-2 teaspoons vanilla

The blog says you should bring this mixture to a boil, then turn the heat down.

“I let it simmer all day long, adding water as needed. You can use the same mix for about 2 days. It’s this wonderful scent of citrus with the warm vanilla and the rosemary. Your home will smell mahvelous!”

Designer’s best

The Creativity Exchange blog says you can transform a room by simply switching out lampshades with an updated style. “Adding fun patterned fabrics to a lampshade is another fun way to update lamps and incorporate your favorite fabric. It’s a great way to update an old lamp for a lot less than buying a new one.” Find a tutorial for covering an old lampshade with fabric at http://tinyurl.com/9r4ubv5.

Send us your best

We’re looking smart tips for the home and garden to highlight each week. 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 of the tube

On HGTV

Amazing homes: What would it be like to furnish your home with unlimited amounts of money? “Million Dollar Homes” takes you inside the retreats of some of the world’s wealthiest homeowners. See a one-of-a-kind in-home yoga studio, where millions were spent to replicate Mother Nature, and a bedroom in Thailand that’s so massive it has its own building. These homes have it all. Tune in at 7 p.m. Sunday.

A place of their own: Whitney and Wyatt have tried living in the same cramped quarters as her parents. They’re ready to buy their first home, but have a limited budget. Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan help them see value in renovating an old home. The design plan soon hits a snag, making the anxious owners wonder if they’ve made a grave mistake. “Property Brothers” airs at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

On DIY

$75,000 master suite: TV host Elizabeth Jennings and her businessman husband Alex are feeling cramped in their master suite. The solution? A huge $75,000 renovation/addition! The problem? They only have two-thirds of that to spend. Can the “Money Hunters” manage this budget, or will they fall short? Watch “Money Hunters” at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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

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