Top Drawer

Top Drawer

CorrespondentApril 18, 2014 

Peeps Portrait

Use peeps to make a cute centerpiece.

MATT ROURKE — AP

Best Easter centerpiece

Turn those Easter Peeps into an adorable springtime centerpiece with the addition of a few flowers and jelly beans.

You will need:

4-inch cube vase

6-inch cube vase

Jelly beans

30 gerbera daisies

5 packs of peeps (4 per pack, for a total of 20 peeps)

Directions:

• Center one vase inside the other and insert jelly beans (in any colors you like) between the walls of the two cubes.

• Place Peeps on top of jelly beans, making sure to save a few for the corners. Don’t be afraid to squeeze them into the space. You should have enough to fill in any gaps.

• Gerberas are usually sold with plastic tubes on the stems for support. Keeping the plastic in place, cut the flowers to desired length and arrange them in the smaller vase.

• Cutting shorter stems for the outside flowers and longer stems for the inner ones will give you a nice, rounded top. And don’t skimp on flowers. If you don’t want to use that many gerberas, find a pair of smaller vases.

You can see step-by-step instructions at http://nando.com/fl.

Best for egg hunts

Light up the night and your backyard for a primetime Easter egg hunt that’s sure to leave a glowing impression on your guests. The Mommy Savers site suggests placing glow-in-the-dark bracelets (bracelet glow-sticks) inside plastic eggs right before your hunt. Seal the eggs and hide them around the yard. Depending on the age of the kids, you can place candy or coins or dollar bills, fortunes, etc., inside the eggs as prizes. See the original post at http://nando.com/fm.

Best for carpet stains

Country Living magazine has put together a list of top cleaning tips from the pros, and it includes some suggestions you may never have heard before, like these from Mark Tarbox, owner of Best Carpet Cleaning Experts in San Antonio, Texas:

Tarbox says shaving cream “will remove just about every type of stain.” Apply the shaving cream directly to the stain. Let it sit for about 30 minutes, then blot away with a dry, white cloth. Finish by spraying the area with one part vinegar mixed with one part water and then wiping away the solution with a cloth.

If grease stains are a problem, try dishwashing liquid mixed with water. “The best method against difficult-to-clean grease stains is to use a drop or two of a grease-cutting dishwashing detergent, such as Joy, in a cup of water,” Tarbox says. “It’ll cut through the grease in the carpet just the way it does on your dishes. Put the solution in a spray bottle and spray it on the stain, then blot it up. Again, you may need to do this multiple times for larger stains.”

Blood is best removed using hydrogen peroxide, Tarbox says. First, loosen up dried blood with water mixed with a mild detergent. Then scrape off as much blood from the fibers as you can. To get the remainder, apply hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain. The solution will immediately foam, so don’t be surprised. Then dab the hydrogen peroxide with towels to dry the carpet.

Reader’s best recipe

Dress up a spinach salad with this homemade salad dressing recommended by Sondra Miller of Cary. Combine 1 cup canola oil, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup ketchup, 5 packs sweetener or 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Put in jar and shake before dressing your salad. Miller says this is also a good dressing for pasta salad.

Seeking your best tips

We’re getting some great suggestions for readers’ favorite recipes, cleaning, organizing, decorating and time-saving home and garden tips. But we need more. If we publish your tip, we’ll enter you in a quarterly drawing for a gift card. Keep them brief, please. Send your best tips or recipe (using precise measurements), along with your name and city to topdrawer@newsobserver.com; subject line: “best tips” or “best recipe.”

Reader’s best

Janice Dickerson of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., wrote in to share a tip for drying and organizing sheet sets.

“When you wash your sheets, hang the dried, fitted sheet on a skirt hanger with the connected clothespins. It is easier than trying to fold it by yourself. Also, fold the top sheet ‘hotdog’ style (the long way) with the sides that you display touching. When you make the bed, you will immediately know where halfway is and can lay it down and just peel the other side back. The top sheet hangs well, too, if you have extra closet space.”

Best of the tube

On HGTV

Caribbean Life: Karrin and John Pecchia and their two little girls have decided to abandon the Minnesota cold and move to a land of sand, sun water and fun. Their lives are about to be filled with Punta Cana’s sand castles and palm trees. Check out the “Caribbean Life” at 8 p.m. Sunday.

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