Top Drawer

CorrespondentNovember 9, 2012 

Raleigh’s TechShop is a membership-based, workshop stocked with a half-million dollars worth of high tech, industrial-strength equipment.


  • More information Reader’s best Sheila Amos of Raleigh has found an unusual way to display her fabric collection. “I’m a quilter and have a fabric stash. I hung two racks meant for ball caps, which have 18 rails on each, on the back of the two closet doors, and display my prettiest fabric (batiks, in my case) there. It’s easy to put the fabric on and take it off, as well as looking neat and attractive.”
  • More information On DIY Channel Flimsy floor: Jim and Helen had a beautiful addition built onto their kitchen by a contractor “famous” for his finishes. Soon, the kitchen hardwood started to buckle. After the contractor’s quick fix fails to solve the problem, Mike Holmes and his crew secure the floor’s joists, add braces and remind us that structure is just as important as design.”Holmes on Holmes” airs at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Designer’s best

Better Homes and Gardens offers this tip for making a big impact in a small space.

“If your apartment lacks a designated entry, create your own with a bookcase. Remove the top shelves and install hooks on the back wall of the bookcase for hanging coats. Add more hooks to the sides of the bookcase for hanging leashes or umbrellas. Outfit the bottom shelves with baskets and small drawers for storing mittens, sunglasses, and other out-the-door essentials. Add a memo bar from an office supply store to the top of the bookcase as a place to organize reminders.”

Best use for old tissue boxes

The next time you finish a box of tissues, reuse it! The boxes are a decorative, practical way to tame messes such as plastic grocery or other bags.

In my home, we keep a box on a shelf in the pantry and one under each bathroom sink. We stuff clean, leftover plastic grocery or other bags inside. Then, when I need a bag to line a trash can or tote something in the car, I simply pull one from the box.

Best for do-it-yourselfers

Have you ever wanted to learn to weld or make your own furniture? Do you have a small business with small production needs that you’d like to handle yourself? Are you an inventor who needs to build a small prototype before pitching your product? Or do you just want to try a new hobby without buying costly tools?

If so – Raleigh’s TechShop, a membership-based, workshop stocked with a half-million dollars worth of high tech, industrial-strength equipment – might interest you.

The 20,000-square-foot workshop features state-of-the-art equipment like sheet metal cutters, wood routers and band saws, 3D printers, computer software, power tools, vinyl cutters, sewing and embroidery machines, powder coating, laser cutters and much more.

Check it out at an open house from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Visitors will be able to tour the shop, see tool demonstrations, get a peek at some member projects and learn about special deals on membership prices and classes. Memberships typically run $99 a month, which gives you access to equipment, facilities, computers and the shop’s expertise. Classes are also offered (at an additional charge), and you don’t need to be a member to enroll.

TechShop is at 5905 Triangle Drive in Raleigh. Call 919-782-2344 or visit

Best centerpiece

Make plans now for that beautiful fall or holiday centerpiece by taking inspiration from nature. The Thrifty Crafter blog says you can do-it-yourself by assembling an assortment of acorns, fresh flowers, and lentils in a pretty glass vase. We’ve excerpted the steps here.


• 5-inch square vase.

• 1 box of acorn filler (either from your yard or a crafts shop).

• A few handfuls of dried lentils.

• 16.9 ounce plastic water bottle

• X-ACTO knife.

• Autumn-colored flowers.


1 Use X-ACTO knife to cut the water bottle to the same height as the square vase.

2 Smooth cut edges with scissors, if needed.

3 Center the cut bottle in square vase. Pour dried lentils around the bottle, about 1/2 inch deep, to stabilize plastic container. Fill remaining space around the bottle with acorns, making sure the plastic bottle cannot be seen.

4 Fill bottle with water and arrange cut flowers in it so that they fill out the top of the vase..

See more centerpiece ideas at

Seeking our readers’ best?

What’s your favorite way to polish furniture? Clean a tub or remove a spot? We’re looking for your best household tips and shortcuts to share in Top Drawer. If we use your tip, we’ll enter you in a quarterly drawing for a Target gift card. Send email to Be sure to include your name and street address. Put “Best tips” in the subject line.

Best of the tube


Bachelor pad to family home: Rod and Jennifer got married and had three kids so fast that they didn’t have time to transform Rod’s bachelor pad into a family home. Realtor David and designer Hilary are ready to help the family find function and style. David will search for houses large enough to fit the brood while Hilary will transform the current home into a family-friendly abode. Will they love their new space or seek out another? Find out at 9 p.m. Saturday on “Love it or List it.”

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