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

CorrespondentNovember 16, 2012 

  • More information Reader’s best Raleigh resident 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 Seeking your best holiday ideas Do you have a time-saving tip to get you through the holidays? Is there a special decorating tip, cleaning ritural or go-to home and garden stocking stuffer for that someone special in your life? If so, we want to know. If we share your tip in Top Drawer, we’ll enter your name in a quarterly drawing for a Target gift card. Send your tips to Be sure to include your name, street address and city. Put “holiday best” in the subject line.

Best craft

Here’s a fun kid craft that uses some of the multicolored leaves littering your yard and walkways. The 5 Orange Potatoes blog suggests using them to create a nature-inspired luminaria or lantern.

These are the instructions: Press leaves for at least 36 hours. Then cover the side of a glass jar with Mod Podge and place a pressed leaf on top of it. Cover the leaf with another layer of Mod Podge. You can layer leaves atop one another as long as you have Mod Podge on them. When all leaves are dry, seal the entire jar with another coat of Mod Podge. Fill with a candle (and place in a setting where it won’t tip over) and you’re set!

See a finished version at

Best for paint

Have you recently completed a painting project and need some complementary pieces to complete the room? The Natty By Design blog offers these tips for accessory shopping:

When you finish with a can of paint, transfer some of the remaining paint into a small mason jar. Before closing the jar, paint one end of a stirrer stick the color of each room. When dry, you can cut the sticks to smaller size and drill a hole in the unpainted end for portability. Clip the sticks onto a keyring or other metal ring, and you have a portable means of comparing colors and accessories when you shop. (Alternatively, cut them to size and place them in a plastic bag to carry.)

Write the names and brands of the paint on the back side of each stick. “Now you have your own customizable paint deck to refer to. Throw it in your purse and you’re good to go.”

You can see the post at

Best for Thanksgiving

With five days until Thanksgiving, the editors at Better Homes and Gardens have put together a checklist to ensure that everything is company-ready for the big day. We’ve excerpted the best of the tips here. To see a complete list, visit


• Plan seating arrangements.

• Review your recipes and prepare a cooking schedule by day for the days ahead, and by the hour for Thanksgiving Day.

• Check thawing time for frozen turkey.

• Prepare the guest room with fresh linens and other amenities.

• Rake leaves and clean the glass on your front door.


• According to directions, begin defrosting the frozen turkey in your refrigerator.

• Start making ice cubes now. When they’re frozen, dump them into a freezer bag.

• Do major house cleaning and organizing.

• Put up wreaths and nonperishable decorations like candles.

• Phone guests regarding menu plans and find out what oven space they may need. Also inquire if they are bringing serving pieces or if you should furnish these.

• Plan ahead for leftovers. Organize containers, bags and wraps so guests can take home the meal’s bounty.


• Chill beverages.

• Shop for perishable items.

• Complete light housecleaning.


• Peel potatoes, place in a pot of cold water. Keep in refrigerator.

• Clean vegetables and refrigerate.

• Make all dishes that can be prepared ahead.

• Check your bathrooms. Be sure to have extra paper goods and hand towels available.

• Spot-clean the rooms that will be used.

• Set the table.

Thanksgiving Day

• Fill condiment dishes with your choice of pickles, olives, cranberry sauce and the like. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

• Assign specific family members or relatives to be in charge of tending the fire, pouring drinks, answering the door, hanging coats and watching the children.

• Remove turkey from refrigerator for one to two hours. Add stuffing to the bird or place into casseroles to bake separately.

• Preheat oven. Put turkey in oven and baste every half hour or according to your recipe.

• Prepare coffee and brew 20 minutes before serving.

• Make gravy and last-minute vegetables; reheat sides and bread or rolls as needed.

• Set out refrigerated items.

• Carve turkey.

• Keep the oven on lowest temperature to keep foods warm until the meal is over.

• Enjoy time with family and friends.

Best of the tube


Income suite: Ten years ago Rob and Tricia bought a four-bedroom, detached house with lots of space to raise a family. But as the economy soured, they needed a means for financing their home. With high ceilings, a walk-out backyard, kitchen and bathroom, their basement has serious potential as a rental. But they need guidance to make it bring top dollar, and HGTV experts ready to help.“Income Property” airs at 5:30 p.m. on Monday.


Cool tools: Before you make your Black Friday shopping list, check out the “Cool Tools Holiday Special.” Host Chris Grundy will share everything from great stocking stuffers and high-powered snow blowers to a rotating tree stand, spinning ornaments, a twirling tree topper, and a remote control for holiday lights. You’ll learn how to string lights on a 20-foot pine tree, create your own icicle lights and use flood lights to accent your house and landscape with color. “Cool Tools Holiday Special” airs at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday.

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

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service