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

Top Drawer

CorrespondentNovember 1, 2013 

Odd numbers work best when arranging groupings of knick knacks and accessories. Ferm Living carries a collection of unusual items such as the Molecule Building Set.

COURTESY OF FERM-LIVING.COM

Best for gardening

Barbara Wagner of Goldsboro shares a tip for keeping tools handy for yard work.

“Tired of walking back and forth for your garden implements, gloves and fertilizer? I put an old mailbox at the end of my garden. Now I have everything at hand and out of the weather.”

Designer’s best

The Squidoo blog reminds that odd numbers work best when arranging groupings of knickknacks and accessories.

“Unless your display is of Noah’s Ark, avoid putting things in pairs. Odd numbers are far more interesting. A group of three or five items is usually better than two, four or six. Items that are different in shape, height, color, texture or some other dimension should be balanced, but that almost always means they should not be centered and spread out or lined up evenly in a straight line.”

Best for organizing the garage

Get your garage organized with these simple, yet practical tips from the listotic.com website.

Some of our favorites include using bungee cords to corral balls and athletic gear; mounting a paper towel rod dispenser on a wall and then draping a roll of garbage bags over it; screwing the lids of a screw-top bottle onto the bottom of a board so that you can store nuts, bolts and other small things in the jar and screw the jars into the lids; using peg board slides to store tools vertically and much, much more. Check out the list of 29 tips at http://nando.com/d1.

Best ideas for painting

The next time you have a painting project to start, check out these tips from the Family Handyman website. You’ll find tips for loosening stuck-on masking tape, lessening paint drips, flattening painter’s tip, covering awkwardly shaped items and avoiding overspray. Check out these and other tips at http://nando.com/d2.

Readers’ best recipe

Raleigh resident Lois Nilsen has fond memories of her mother making Chinese Chicken for her and her seven siblings. (The same recipe has more than 300 positive reviews on allrecipes.com.)

You will need:

12 ounce jar apricot preserves

1 package dry onion soup mix

8 ounces Russian salad dressing

8 to 10 pieces of chicken

Mix first 3 ingredients and pour over chicken in a shallow baking dish. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Serve with rice.

Seeking our readers’ best

If you have a favorite, five-ingredient-or-less cool-weather recipe – or household tip – to share, we’d love to hear it. Send it to topdrawer@newsobserver.com. Be sure to include your name, street address and city, and we’ll enter you in a quarterly drawing for a gift card. Put “best recipe” or “best tip” in the subject line.

Best place to find decor deals

The My Blessed Life blog prides itself on helping readers find inspiring, creative projects – on a budget. With that in mind, the blog put together a list of 10 places to shop while decorating on the cheap. In addition to thrift and consignment stores, the site suggests shopping online sales ads, Habitat for Humanity Restores, yard sales and salvage shops. See the complete list and details about what to find where at http://nando.com/d3.

Best of the tube

On HGTV

Two floors, one family: Jay and Sherry have a basement that they think would be great space for their older son to live. But the layout of the house poses major issues – the kitchen is tiny and the bedrooms aren’t private. Designer Hilary and her team renovate the house to make it function for everyone, while Realtor David searches for a new home he hopes will fit their needs. In “Love It or List It” airs at 7 p.m. Monday.

On DIY

Two-story patio: After contractors left their backyard in ruins, Cleiton Goncalves got a book from the hardware store and tried to build a new patio. With the hot tub creating a collapsing situation and not knowing what to do next, the homeowners called Kayleen and her crew for help. Soon they will have a super awesome, tricked-out, two-story patio. “Rescue Renovation” airs at 6 p.m. Thursday.

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

email topdrawer@newsobserver.com.

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