Top drawer

Top Drawer

CorrespondentNovember 23, 2012 

  • 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 ritual 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.

Reader’s best

Wendy Chrzan of Raleigh was intrigued by a recent tip we published for reusing cleaned cereal bags. So she wrote in with her own suggested use: “They are great for pounding chicken breasts flat. Just put it in the bag and pound away! They don’t break, and it keeps the chicken breast contained.”

Weekend’s best art market

Check out the latest and greatest from North Carolina’s talented artisans on Saturday and Sunday at the 43rd Annual Fine Designer Crafts Show at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. This year’s show will feature pottery, clay, blown glass, jewelry, metal work, furniture, photography and sculptures from artists around the state. The show runs from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. Sunday at the fairgrounds’ Exposition Center (1025 Blue Ridge Road). Day pass costs $7; weekend passes are $11.


Best for poinsettias

The JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh holds a free Poinsettia Open House 1-5 p.m. Dec. 2. See dozens of varieties of poinsettias and vote for your favorites. Stroll through festive poinsettia gardens and view a 9-foot-tall poinsettia tree while listening to live Christmas carols from 1-4 p.m. The Arboretum is at 4415 Beryl Road. Info: 919-513-7005.

Best protection for plants

The gardening experts at Logan’s Trading Company in Raleigh remind us that all non-cold-hardy plants should be moved indoors by now. Watch for insects that may have hitched a ride inside. Hold off on fertilizing most houseplants until spring.

Give them a light shower in the sink every month to help keep the leaves clean and your plants “breathing” better. Misting during the week will help protect against the low humidity in most houses.

Best for leaves

This week may be your last chance to preserve some natural fall color from leaves that have fallen in your yard. A blog post on offers these preservation tips. The treated leaves would be perfect for a scrapbook. We’ve excerpted the steps here:


• Leaves

• Wax paper

• Flat glass dish

• Hammer

• Glycerin

Step by step

1 Spread waxed paper on a concrete surface outdoors, and place the leaves on top. Use the hammer to crush the bottom four inches of the stems, to allow them to absorb the glycerin.

2 Mix one part glycerin and two parts hot water (150-180 degrees) in the glass dish. Stir well until the temperature drops to between 80 and 100 degrees.

3 Place the prepared leaves into the glycerin mixture, making sure to space out the leaves so the glycerin mixture covers each completely. If necessary, weigh leaves down with small stones.

4 Soak the leaves in the glycerin for at least two weeks and as long as six weeks. Add water as needed to keep the glycerin mixture above the leaves at all times.

5 Remove leaves when you can see that the glycerin traveled through each leaf. You will notice the leaves changing color slightly as the glycerin moves through them. Dry the leaves with the paper towels and use them as you desire.

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Best of the tube


Star-powered holidays: Three interior designers create high holiday drama for celebrity guests in this network special. This episode’s trio of guest Fantasylands includes a Santa’s workshop for actress Eva La Rue, a white Christmas for football star Kurt Warner and a homecoming holiday for “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks. “Celebrity Holiday Homes” airs at 9 p.m. Saturday.


Battered basement: Zeb’s background in building props has not helped him in renovating his basement. Though the props look great, they are not meant to be long-lasting. Not like the basement renovation his wife is desperate for Zeb to complete. DIY contractor Bryan is about to help Zeb finish the basement correctly once and for all. “Disaster DIY”airs at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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