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

Top Drawer

CorrespondentMay 10, 2013 

The next time you host or attend a shower, here's an adorable way to present baby socks and washcloths to the mom-to-be from the PharMa working mom blog.


Designer’s best

Lots of people will be hosting family and friends over the next few months. The design experts at HGTV offer this tip for welcoming guests: “To help rejuvenate their spirits, give the guest room a ‘bed-and-breakfast’ feel,” says interior designer Kevin Simon. Outfit the bed with fresh linens and blankets and use baskets to hold towels and toiletries. For the ultimate guest experience, provide robes and slippers.

Best for baby showers?

Spring seems to be prime time for baby showers. The next time you host or attend a shower, here’s an adorable way to present baby socks and washcloths to the mom-to-be from the PharMa working mom blog. Roll up a newborn diaper from the bottom to the top, secure it with a straight pin and swaddle the bottom of the roll with a washcloth folded into a triangular as you would with a baby. Tuck in the top corner to secure. Draw or glue eyes of your choice to the diaper. Grab a baby sock and roll up the cuff until you have a small semi-circle that you can place on top of the diaper like a baby hat. You can see a detailed pictorial at

Best for basil

Basil plants are popping up at garden centers across the Triangle. But keeping the herb thriving can be a chore if you don’t know how to care for it. The folks at Offbeat Home offer these tips to keep basil looking – and tasting – its leafy green best.

1 Well-drained soil is best. If you grow basil in containers, the container needs to have good drainage holes.

2 Keep the plant fairly warm with at least six hours a day of sunlight. Basil likes temperatures above 50 degrees. If you’re growing it outside, a layer of mulch will help regulate temperature and prevent weeds.

3 Fertilize about once a month if you’re growing it indoors. Organic or slow-release fertilizers (such as compost tea) are best. Just don’t fertilize it below 60 degrees.

4 Water once a day when the temperatures get really hot this summer. Check your soil to make sure it isn’t drying out.

5 Pruning leads to more basil. Start pruning the top leaves at about 6 inches tall and continue to prune as it gets bushier. Pinch off any flowers that you see.

6 Keep insects away. If pests are bugging your plants, fertilizing with liquid seaweed will help.

To learn more, visit

Best for cookie sheets

Are you tight on space and having difficulty storing baking sheets and muffin pans? The blogger at the Organised Housewife suggests corralling the sheets into a large basket that can sit in your pantry, in a cupboard or on a countertop. You can see a pictorial of this and other tips at

Best for mom

Sunday is Mother’s Day. If you haven’t made breakfast reservations, never fear. You can still make mom a delicious breakfast with this quiche recipe from the For the Love of Food blog.

You’ll need:

• A premade, frozen or refrigerated pie crust, prepared according to the directions.

• 8 slices bacon, crumbled

• 2 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

• 2 tablespoons flour

• 4 eggs

• 3/4 cup cream

• 3/4 cup half and half (half cream half milk – mix it yourself if you can’t find any)

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• Dash pepper

Step by step:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook bacon until crisp. Once cool, crumble and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the cheese and flour – mix well. In a large bowl, beat the eggs slightly, and then add cream, half and half, salt, pepper, bacon and cheese mixture. Mix well.

Ladle into the prepared pie crust.

Bake for 30-45 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Let it stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6-8 servings.


Reader’s best

Garner reader Christian Rothwell wrote in to sing the praises of rubberized mesh shelf-liners. “A length of it laid across the back of my leather sofa keeps my chenille throw from sliding around. When the rubber backing under a small rug begins to lose its non-slip properties, a piece of this product laid underneath holds the rug nicely in place. I use a piece of it under the pedal of my piano keyboard to keep it in place on the slippery floor in my chorus classroom; and when it’s necessary to nest my non-stick pans in my kitchen cabinets, pieces of shelf liner protect them from scratches.”

Best of the tube


The young and unrealistic: Sarah and Anthony are determined to buy a sprawling suburban dream home before their upcoming wedding. Property expert Egypt Sherrod promises to find them spacious Atlanta digs in time for their big day, but warns they’ll have to readjust their expectations to fit their budget. When they finally find a home that seems to have it all, they end up getting a crash course on the ups and downs of bidding on a foreclosed property. “Property Virgins” airs at 5 p.m. Sunday.

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