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

Top Drawer

CorrespondentApril 11, 2014 

You can buy water lilies and lotus plants grown at the N.C. Museum of Art.


Best flower sale

Head over to the Raleigh’s Midtown Farmers Market any Saturday beginning April 19 to purchase water lilies and lotus plants grown at the N.C. Museum of Art. Rodin Garden Water Lilies will be sold for $35 each and Sacred Lotus Water Plants for $40 each. This is the first time the museum has sold lilies and lotuses at the market. The sale takes place 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Nov. 1. Midtown Farmers Market is at 4150 Main at North Hills Street.

Designers’ best

Now that spring appears to have officially sprung, mother-daughter designers Catherine and Justine Macfee, who are based in California, offer some tips for sprucing up your outdoor spaces.

Let it grow: Surround yourself with lush vegetation and beautiful foliage! Keep things manicured and healthy so they’re inviting, but let your garden and patio area mesh together. Stone walkways through your flora are a nice touch for allowing your guests to walk without getting their shoes dirty.

Bring the indoors outside: Teak is always a great option for outdoor furniture, but think about mixing that with other accents like metal, rattan or petrified wood.

Seek balance: Decor in your outdoor space should complement the interiors of the home while keeping the integrity of the outdoors. Choose colors that accentuate the greenery of your yard and add personality and style to your space. Maybe a classic stripe or a bright burnt orange.

Get comfortable: Big comfy chairs are a must. A defined lounging area with plenty of seating options where you can laze all day and into the night. Furnish your outdoor space with the same detail as your interior space.

Check out the Macfee’s blog at

Best recipe

Raleigh reader Jeanie DeGroff shared her friend Karen Deuel’s recipe for Artichoke Chicken. “She made it especially for us when my husband, Tom, was really sick. Every time I make it I think of him and all the people that loved him. Now I make it when I want to make someone feel special and loved.”

You will need:

1 14-ounce can water-packed artichokes, well drained and chopped

3/4 cup Romano cheese

3/4 cup mayonnaise

Garlic to taste, minced

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts


Combine first four ingredients. Place chicken in a greased 11 by 7 by 2-inch baking dish. Spread mixture over chicken and bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Best for meatloaf

To freeze uncooked meatloaf, wrap it in a large sheet of aluminum foil and cover with plastic wrap. You can store it this way for up to three months. To prepare, thaw overnight in the fridge and cook according to the recipe. Thanks to Real Simple magazine for the simple idea.

Best Easter craft

Make memories and art with the kiddos with an Easter craft featured on Pinterest and from the SassyDealz website.

Take a potato, cut it in half lengthwise and carve shallow lines, zig zags, squiggly, wavy lines or other designs in it.

Dip the carved potatoes into washable paints spread on a paper plate, then lift the potatoes, wipe lightly on the side of the paper plate and press the potato hard (stamp it) onto card stock, construction or other paper.

This would be an easy way to make personalized Easter gift wrap or greeting cards. You can see the finished product at

Best for fabrics

Make your own reusable fabric softener sheet with this tip from the Mattern Family blog: “Soak a hand towel in fabric softener. Squeeze out any remaining drops from the towel. Hang it over a (protected) chair (or outside on a clothesline) to dry. My house smelled super clean for the three days while this towel was drying completely. ... After the towel dries, you just throw it in your dryer along with clothes and use it as a dryer sheet” for about a month before washing the towel and soaking it again.”

Best of the tube

On DIY Channel:

More chic, less shabby: The Esparzas love French Country design, but right now their yard is little more than a concrete slab and a dilapidated patio cover with a few patches of grass. Chris builds a casual, yet classy new backyard by incorporating formal sod circles, a majestic water feature, a hammock, a custom painted patio and more. A long-awaited housewarming party completes the makeover. “Going Yard” airs at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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