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

Top Drawer

CorrespondentApril 26, 2013 

FOOD FANCYCAKES AK

Packaging those precious cupcakes to preserve the frosting in pristine condition? It turns out that those clear, 9-ounce cups sold in party stores are the perfect size.

PHIL MASTURZO — MCT

Best for cupcakes

Prepping for a bake sale? Taking cupcakes to a party? The birdonacake blog offers a neat solution for packaging those precious cupcakes to preserve the frosting in pristine condition.

It turns out that those clear, 9-ounce cups sold in party stores are the perfect size for most home-baked cupcakes. Simply drop a cupcake in and wrap the cup in clear cellophane wrap. Tie with a decorative bow and, voila. You have cupcakes fit for sale, display or just good old fashioned, smudge-free eating. Check it out at http://nando.com/ae.

Best for gardening with kids

Turn that milk jug into a kid-friendly watering can with this tip from the Home Designer Ideas blog. Take a clean, empty gallon or half-gallon milk jug and poke a series of holes in the top of the cap. Let children decorate the jug if they’d like. Fill the jug with water, screw on the cap and let your little helper water away in the garden. See the watering can at http://nando.com/af.

Best keepsake

Make a keepsake of your child’s school milestones and accomplishments with this tip from the Destination Domestication blog.

Buy a clear portable file box and hanging file folders. On an 8-1/2 by 11-inch shipping label, print or decoratively pen your child’s name in large letters. You can label the files by age, grade year, with Church, Scouts, Athletics, Artwork, Medical Records, Awards or anything you choose. The completed file would make a great keepsake for your child upon graduation or marriage. See an example at http://nando.com/ag.

Happy organizing!

Best for mom

Surprise mom this Mother’s Day with a mini album that celebrates her and the lessons she has imparted to you and others. The Simple As That Blog says all you need is:

• White card stock to create album pages

• Coordinating patterned paper

• Card stock embellishments

• Large eyelets for the top left corner of each page

• Round corner punch

• A binder ring to hold the album pages together

• Decorative ribbon to tie it

You can interview your mom with questions such as, “What’s the most essential thing you’ve learned in life?” “What have you learned from someone you didn’t like?” “What is the nicest thing your parents ever said/did for you?” Or you can answer those questions for yourself based on what mom has taught you.

The blog offers downloadable page templates where you can journal the answers. Drop in your photos, add your text and you’ll have a keepsake that mom will cherish forever. Download the templates and see how it all comes together at http://nando.com/ah.

Designer’s best

Are you having a home custom-built? The Top Ten reviews site has these tips to keep in mind when mapping out your floor plan for maximum efficiency.

1 Provide direct access to the kitchen from the garage.

2 Design all your plumbing in one general area, reducing pipe distance.

3 Place your heating ventilation and air conditioning system as centrally as possible, allowing for better temperature balance throughout your house.

4 Make sure all doorways, hallways and stairways are wide enough to move furniture through.

5 Make sure light switches are placed appropriate to traffic flow and that outlets are conveniently located.

6 Bedrooms should be isolated to reduce noise and increase privacy.

7 Place your washer and dryer on the same floor as bedrooms (for multi-story homes).

For more design tips, visit http://nando.com/ai.

Best to know

We recently told you about a homemade laundry cleaning solution involving 1 part blue dishwashing Dawn solution to two parts hydrogen peroxide. But we forgot to mention one important distinction. After an accidental trial-and-error full of super suds, we realized that the blue Dawn referenced in the blog post must be “regular” Dawn, not the superconcentrate version. So adjust accordingly.

Seeking your best

We are seeking your best tips for cleaning, organizing and gardening. If we use your tip, you’ll be entered in our quarterly drawing for a gift certificate of thanks. Send tips to topdrawer@newsobserver.com. Be sure to include your name, street address and city. Put “best tips” in the subject line.

Best bets on TV

On HGTV

A place of their own: The Maharishi family has traveled all over the world, but they’re now ready to settle into a place of their own. After restoring much of the exterior of their home, Rachel and Rahul hadn’t touched the inside. Two years and an exhausted budget later, they are still trying to make their house over. Designer Hilary steps in to help with a plan, while Realtor David wants to find a move-in ready house for the family. “Love it or List it” airs at 7 p.m. Monday. On DIY

Dog’s play: Matt and Zena Welker love to host parties and play yard games, but their backyard has literally gone to their dogs. Chris builds them a yard that’s fit to entertain both people and pets, featuring a deck with a custom tiki bar, a hot tub and a personal dog park for Monkey and Rufus. It’s completed just in time for a party to celebrate. “Going Yard” airs at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

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

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