Top drawer

Top Drawer: The best stuff for your home and garden

CorrespondentJuly 19, 2013 

Go for floral prints in sheets, throw pillows and shams to change out the look of your home for a summery feel.

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For a summer look

Realitytimes.com, a real estate site, has compiled a list of 25 tips to change out the look of your home for a summery feel. Here are a few of my favorites:

• Go for floral prints in sheets, throw pillows and shams.

• Put fresh cut flowers in decorative vases to brighten any room.

• Clean out the fireplace and try candles, flowers, or green plants in it for the summer months.

• Spray down your window screens and thoroughly clean your windows and glass to let the sun shine in completely.

• Thinking of painting? Now, may be a good time to go bright, light and cheery.

• Put away floor rugs or swap them for floor coverings with brightly colored floral prints.

• Use a variety of floral teacups to float votive candles in; arrange them on a table for an elegant look.

You can find the complete list of tips at http://nando.com/ba.

Best July bargains

July is usually one of the hottest months of the year. The Budget Savvy Diva says it’s also a hot time for bargains at local stores. We’ve excerpted a recent blog post that lays out the bargains:

“One big way to save is on electronics. You can expect to see unbelievable prices on TVs, digital cameras and laptops. ... You will begin to see back-to-school items come on sale. This is the time to watch for FREE items such as book bags, school essentials, tissues and all that comes with getting the kiddos back in the classroom. You can expect to pick up FREE items at Staples, Office Max and drugstores, so be sure to stay tuned for the site for the deals! … As the end of July comes to a close, you’ll begin seeing summer items on clearance.

“This is the time to purchase summer clothing. Think about ways that you can use summer clothing for layering in the upcoming cooler months and think next spring/summer. In addition, have some fun picking up bubbles, sidewalk chalk, sunglasses, lawn chairs and products for outdoor living (grills, patio sets, etc.). However, for the biggest savings on outdoor living items, you will see the biggest price reduction in early fall.”

You can find the entire blog entry at http://nando.com/b9.

Best reader recipes

Here are two reader-submitted recipes to enjoy this summer.

The first is from Sue Emery of Raleigh:

Fruit dip

• 8 ounces cream cheese

• 8 ounces marshmallow fluff (Emery prefers the Jet-puffed brand, which is found in the baking aisle.)

Blend the ingredients with an electric beater and start dipping. (You can let the cream cheese get to room temperature, but it is not necessary.)

Phyllis Taylor of Raleigh shared her recipe for a scrumptious dessert.

Angel Food Cake Dessert

• 1 angel food cake

• 1 large box of instant vanilla pudding

• 1 can of cherry or blueberry pie filling

• 16 ounces light sour cream

• 1 cup milk (I use fat-free half-and-half)

Cut one-half of the cake into bite-size cubes. Place in bottom of 8-by-8-inch casserole dish. Spread pie filling over cake. Mix pudding with sour cream and milk until pudding is thickened (about 2 minutes). Spread pudding over pie filling. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Keeps several days in the fridge.

Seeking our readers’ best

We’re on the prowl for a new batch or reader-submitted cleaning, organizing and gardening tips. If you have a no-fail way to lighten the load of household chores, we want to hear it. We’ll also enter you in a quarterly drawing for our reader’s best tips. Send email to topdrawer@newsobserver.com. Be sure to include your name, street address and city. Put “best tips” in the subject line.

Best of the tube

On HGTV

Double trouble: With their 7-month-old twins in tow, Kevin and Melissa have relocated to Atlanta to live with her parents until they find a property of their own. While Kevin wants to move to the country, Melissa would prefer to live closer to her support network. When they eventually find themselves in a potential bidding war, property expert Egypt Sherrod tells them to make it personal. “Property Virgins” airs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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

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