Top Drawer

Top Drawer: The best of everything for your home and garden

CorrespondentJanuary 25, 2013 

Best for football Sunday

As you flesh out your menu for Super Bowl Sunday, think visually. The barnorama blog suggests building on to your game time theme by dipping strawberries in melted chocolate, letting them cool and drizzling melted white chocolate across the berry’s belly to simulate football stitching.

You’ll need 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips and 1/4 cup white chocolate chips to melt, 12-14 large strawberries and a piping bag to draw the design. SCORE!

See a step-by-step tutorial at

Best Super Bowl decor

As you prep for Super Bowl festivities on Feb. 3, it helps to have a game plan. With chicken wings, Chex mix (and now strawberries) flying off grocery shelves, you’ve no doubt got the menu covered. But what about the decor? The Love and Homemade recipes blog has come up with some decorations that are sure to be a winner with your party-goers.

We’ve excerpted a few of the suggestions from

Laces-Out Bottle Coozie: Cozy up to your drink by spray-painting old coozies brown and hot-gluing on fun foam lines in a football motif.

Take-the-Field Runner: Cover the table with craft paper. Mark off the yard lines and numbers with masking tape or stickers, spray-paint brown or green, remove tape.

In-the-Numbers Jar Jersey: Wrap jars in scrapbook papers and attach jersey numbers of your favorite players.

Team T-Shirt Throw Pillow: Give old sports tees new life by transforming them into pillows. Cut out the front design and back from an old T-shirt. Stitch three sides closed, fill with stuffing and close the remaining side.

Best fabric softener

We love soft, fresh-smelling clothes straight from the dryer. But dryer sheets can be expensive. And you’re in a bind if you run out in the middle of a load. The matternfamily blog offers this tip for keeping your own ready-made fabric softener sheets on hand:

“Soak a hand towel in liquid fabric softener. Squeeze out any remaining drops from the towel.

Hang it over a chair (or outside on a clothes line) to dry. My house smelled super clean for the three days while this towel was drying completely. Yes, it took three days.

You must make sure it dries completely.

After the towel dries, you just throw it in your dryer along with clothes and use it as a dryer sheet for 40-50 loads before soaking again. My clothes are softer than they have ever been when I used fabric softener.”

See the original post at

Best taco tip

On busy weeknights, my family and I love to enjoy a good taco. But as the mom of two kids, I’m not a fan of the mess that it makes. We learned a few years ago to use a six-cup muffin tin to hold toppings and create a topping bar. (This also works great for baked potatoes and a chili bar) The little wells are perfect for holding and doling out shredded lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, cheese, guacamole and any other toppings you desire. There’s also just one pan to clean at the end of the meal instead of individual bowls.

Another taco tip caught my eye on Pinterest. It suggested lining taco shells with a rinsed and dried lettuce leaf before placing the fillings inside. This keeps drips to a minimum and tends to keep toppings in their place, even if the shell breaks.


Reader’s best

Ruth Danks of Southern Pines has found an effective way to organize all of the appliance manuals flooding her home.

“Keep all instruction manuals in an accordion-style folder with tabs and identify each compartment such as refrigerator, cellphones, TVs, stove, CD player, cameras, computers, water picks, and everything else that comes with instructions. It’s so easy to find whatever instructions you need in maybe 30 seconds. I also left an accordion folder with all appliance instructions with the sale of our home for the new owners, who were ever so grateful.”

Designer’s best

The design bloggers at Better Homes and Gardens offerthis tip for hiding an overabundance of “stuff.”

“Place furniture in the corners of rooms at an angle and use the space behind to stash baskets of extra linens, toys, crafts supplies, or whatever else you need to store.”

Seeking your best household tips

Do you have a no-fail shortcut in the kitchen? A sure-fire way to clean a stubborn stain or ensure success in the garden? If so, we want to hear from you. We are seeking your best tips household tips. If we use your suggestions, you’ll be entered in our quarterly drawing for a gift card.

Send your tips to Be sure to include your name, street address and city. Put “best tips” in the subject line.

Best of the tube


Now or Never: Lisa bought her first property, at age 38. Years later, she still loves the townhouse but has had challenges maintaining it on a single income. Last summer she decided that taking on a tenant may be the solution. But making the transition from homeowner to landlady has been daunting. “Income Property” airs at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

From Washington to the Big Island: Kristen and Tony Arrindell moved from Washington state to Hawaii to take jobs at an island hospital. Now they are looking for a home to accommodate their twin toddlers. Realtor Jene Green shows them three homes near Kona that would also also keep them close to to their favorite hobby: motorcycling the coast. Which will they choose? “Hawaii Life” airs at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.


Moldy bath: Kelly and Kevin are embarrassed by their tiny bathroom’s blue tile and dated look. But soon after demolition begins, they find a much bigger problem: mold behind the walls. Will their renovation dreams be derailed? “My First Renovation” airs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

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