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

Top Drawer

CorrespondentApril 19, 2013 


Make crepes as a special Mother's Day treat.


Best breakfast for Mom

Plan ahead for a special Mother’s Day treat with this simple recipe for crepes from

The recipe makes enough for eight. You can see the original post and tons of reviews at

You will need:

2 eggs

1 cup milk

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 pinch salt

1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil


In a blender combine eggs, milk, flour, salt and oil. Process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and brush with oil. Pour 1/4 cup of crepe batter into pan, tilting to completely coat the surface of the pan. Cook 2 to 5 minutes, turning once, until golden. Repeat with remaining batter. Fill with fruit and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Best for grout

Blogger Caroline Potochnik of the Happyhecticlife blog offered this tip for cleaning stubborn, stained floor grout. She uses Woolite Heavy Traffic carpet cleaner. While it’s technically meant for fabric, she finds that the cleaning foam powers through unsightly grime and darkened grout lines. She says to let the foam set for a few minutes, scrub the grout with a sponge and wipe it clean with a damp rag. We would suggest testing an inconspicuous spot first, but it may be worth a try. Check it out at

Best artwork

We love the idea of framing a giant black-and-white family print to hang in a bedroom or living space. explains how to do it on the cheap. We have excerpted the process here. You can get a detailed step-by-step tutorial by visiting


• Camera

• Photo-editing software

• A favorite picture in black and white. Natural lighting is best and try to avoid busy backgrounds.

• Giant styrofoam board used to insulate houses. (Can be purchased at home improvement stores for about $12.)

• Mat knife for cutting foam board

• Elmer’s Spray glue (found in craft stores)

Step by step

1 Convert your picture to black and white using editing software on your computer.

2 Save the image to a jumpdrive and take it to your local home office store.

3 Ask for the largest “engineer print.” (Call ahead first to ensure that the store offers this service.) The blogger suggests a 4-by-3-foot print, and notes that, at that size, the picture won’t be totally crisp up close. But it will still look good. Engineer prints this size should cost about $8.

4 Place your photo on the foam board and cut around it using a mat knife.

5 Cover edges with craft paint or duct tape. This will give your edge a finished look. If painting, let dry completely.

6 Cover the entire board or the back of the picture with spray glue. Have helper assist you in adhering the picture to the board.

Readers’ best

Raleigh reader Rebeccah Neff loves to bake bread, but doesn’t care for the cleanup. She wrote in with a tip for expediting the cleanup of sticky residue left on bowls and surfaces by bread dough. “Instead of using my dishwashing sponge to clean the articles I don’t put into the dishwasher, I use pieces of the plastic mesh bags from purchases of grapefruit, oranges and lemons. Usually the mesh scrubber rinses clean, but it if doesn’t, I don’t feel so bad discarding it because I have a ready supply of saved bags.”

Seeking our readers’ best

If you have a favorite cleaning, gardening or organizing tip, we want to hear it. Send them to Be sure to include your name, street address and city. Put “Best tips” in the subject line. If we use your tip, you’ll be entered in our quarterly drawing for a Target gift card.

Best of the tube


Updated ’tween hangout: Kate is a 9-year-old with acute lymphatic leukemia. Genevieve teams up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to give Kate’s toddlerish bedroom a more sophisticated look. So it’s out with the pink and in with a new color palette. A snack bar, peace signs and a new loft bed give the bedroom the transitional feel that Kate is looking for. “Dear Genevieve” airs at 9:30 a.m. Monday.


Craftsman courtyard: Jake and Joel turn a tiny, rundown yard into a relaxing space by bringing the Craftsman feel of inside the home outdoors. The new yard features a rustic water feature made from railroad ties, a custom bar faced with period-specific wainscoting, a deck made from composite materials and a one-of-a-kind privacy wall inspired by the homeowners’ wedding picture. “Yardcore” airs at 2 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