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

Top Drawer: The best stuff for your home and garden

CorrespondentJuly 4, 2014 

Food Pitcher Cocktails Lemonade in Bloom

Making fresh lemonade is fairly simple with only three ingredients.


Best lemonade ever

Homemade lemonade is so refreshing on a hot day. When temperatures rise, I love to whip up a batch using this recipe from

You will need:

1 3/4 cups white sugar

8 cups water

1 1/2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice (juice from 7-8 large lemons)


In a small saucepan, combine sugar and one cup water. Bring to boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled. Remove seeds from lemon juice but leave pulp. In pitcher, stir together chilled syrup, lemon juice and remaining 7 cups water. Serve over ice.

You can view the original recipe at

Best tips for roses?

Who doesn’t love beautiful, bountiful roses in summertime? If you’ve got the secret to cultivating gorgeous blossoms and keeping black spot and other diseases at bay, we’d love to hear it and share it with our readers. Please send your tip to If we use it, you’ll be entered in a drawing for a quarterly gift card.

• Winner of the second-quarter gift card is Sondra Miller of Cary. Congratulations!

Best for dusting blinds

No matter how clean your home is, dust finds a way to make its presence known. One of its favorite places to land is on window blinds. Good Housekeeping assembled a primer on the best ways to clean the most common types of household blinds. We’ve excerpted some of their tips here:

Honeycomb (cellular shades): “Honeycombs are so easy to clean. Just use the dusting tool on your vacuum,” says Carolyn Forte, director of the home appliance and cleaning products section of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute. “Give them a once-over on low suction, and you’re done.” After dusting, most stains can be lightly blotted with a sponge, lukewarm water and mild dish detergent.

Roman shades: Whether your romans are flat, pleated or draped with swags, clean them with your vacuum’s soft dusting brush attachment on low suction, or gently go over them with a handheld vac fitted with the brush attachment. If necessary, spot-clean any stains with a cloth dipped in mild suds. Do not saturate; rinse and blot dry.

Sheer shades: Trendy translucent window shadings (which you can adjust to diffuse the light) look delicate but are fashioned from sturdy, knitted polyester. Vacuum with the brush attachment on the lowest suction setting.

Roller shades: Roller shades come in a wide range of fabrics and textures. All most need is a light once-over with your vacuum’s soft brush tool and maybe a little spot cleaning. To clean classic vinyl shades, use a well-wrung cloth or sponge dipped in a solution of mild dishwashing detergent and lukewarm water and wipe the shade in sections. Start at the bottom and continue working (washing and rinsing) upward until the entire shade is clean. Leave the shade fully extended to dry. You can also give really dingy vinyl shades a bath. Lay them in the bathtub, cover with warm water and add several squirts of mild dishwashing soap. Using a soft brush, clean both sides. Rinse, air dry and re-hang.

Wood and faux wood blinds: Treat these blinds like wood furniture. Dust with a soft, clean cloth, chemically treated dust cloth or dusting glove. Lower the blind to full length, tilt the slats to an almost closed position, hold the bottom rail, and dust. Then reverse the slats and repeat. You can also dampen (don’t saturate) a microfiber cloth with warm water and wipe the slats to get rid of stubborn dirt. Then, open the slats and air-dry.

Best for summer decor

The Realty Times, a real estate blog, offers a bevy of tips for summer decorating. Here are some of our favorites:

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

2 Display decorative fruit baskets and welcome mats and signs.

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

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

5 Float votive candles in a variety of floral teacups. Arrange them on a table for an elegant look.

6 Use fluffy throw pillows on couches, sofas and loveseats to encourage settling in for a read or a summertime snooze.

See the complete list of 25 tips at

Best of the tube


Great Salt Lake house hunt: Tony met Jenny while he was her college soccer coach in Hawaii. Now they’re back home in Salt Lake City, married, and expecting their first child. Jenny wants a luxurious home in her parents’ neighborhood with a grand staircase, home theater and a giant laundry room. He wants a view and something a little farther from the in-laws. Will Jenny outscore her favorite coach on this house hunt? Find out at 7 p.m. Saturday on “House Hunters.”

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