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

Top Drawer

CorrespondentDecember 28, 2012 

Best holiday tip: Photo before takedown

JoAnn Hobler of Raleigh shared a great tip for keeping track of holiday decorations from year to year. “I store all my decorations the way they are displayed. For example, the fireplace mantel: I take a photo before undecorating. Then the stockings, garland, etc., are packed together with the photo in a tote that is labeled. If one tote can hold more than one area, the same idea holds. Then the following year, I unpack by area. If I have a half-hour, and I know it takes that long to do the mantel, I grab the mantel tote. I always make changes in some areas, but find it easier to do after everything is up.”

Best New Year’s party décor

We love this idea from the apartment therapy blog for a small New Year’s Eve dinner party.

Gather inexpensive, round wall clocks (at discount stores or thrift shops) and place one at each place setting. (You could place a battery in the clock and set it for the correct time or simply point the hands to midnight to signal new beginnings as the evening winds down.) Place a clear glass plate on top of the clock so that the hands are visible, and you’re ready for the countdown fun to begin!

The blog notes that the glass-plate trick would work with any themed party. Think old photos for an anniversary dinner or pressed leaves at Thanksgiving. Whatever you place under the plates becomes the center of attention.

See the New Year’s Eve place setting at

Best recipe for an attitude of gratitude

Start the New Year off by recording a rolling list of good things that happen to you and your family. A Pinterest poster suggests making written notes as good things happen to you and slipping the notes into a glass jar (or other container). Next New Year’s Eve, empty the jar to reveal a year full of blessings.

Best for cookie sheets

Now that you’ve given your metal cookie sheets a thorough workout, you’ll need a good way to clean them for the next time around. Fortunately, the One Good Thing by Jillee blog has come up with just the right formula for returning pans to their shiny best. We’ve excerpted the steps here.

• Liberally sprinkle the pan with baking soda, then hydrogen peroxide and another level of baking soda. Let it sit for about two hours. It should look like a pasty dusting of snow.

• Wipe and rub the coating away to reveal a much shinier finish.

This method might not remove all the gunk, but it did leave the blogger’s sheets much brighter. Best yet, Jillee says, no scrubbing was required.

See the transformation at

Designer’s best

Light the way into the new year with a sleek arrangement of candle-filled hurricanes in your entryway or hallway like one on Pinterest that shows three wide-mouthed hurricanes filled with five pillar candles of varying sizes. They appear to be set upon a bed of gravel or coffee beans. As you can see (if you scroll down) at, the three hurricanes set on a long, rectangular table create warmth and drama.

Best of the tube


Something to cluck about: Jeff Liang and Mikaila Fulfs are dying to get out of tiny studio apartment they’ve been renting in Portland, Ore. You’d think that viewing 53 homes would yield some possibilities. But when you’ve got a $150,000 budget and dreams of raising urban chickens, it’s not that easy. Tune in to “House Hunters” at 11 p.m. Monday to see if the chickens (and their owners) find a place to roost.

Picturing the possibilities: High-school sweethearts Jacob and Lana are ready to get out of their tiny one bedroom apartment and into their first home together. All that stands betweeen them and their dream home is their nightmarishly small budget. Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan show the couple that they can turn an affordable fixer-upper into a home that they love. “Property Brothers” airs at 9 p.m. Wednesday.


Bathroom redux: With the exterior of the Harriet Project completely restored, interior designer Nicole Curtis and the guys move inside and begin demolition and prepare for plumbing and electrical work. “Rehab Addicts” airs at 6 p.m. Thursday.

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