Top Drawer Home & Garden

Top Drawer

Readers best tip for jewelry storage

Dot Winchester of Raleigh says that she finds that shallow ice trays are perfect for storing the earrings, pins and other jewelry that she wears most often. I keep them in the drawers of my vanity that are very accessible, she says. She purchased two trays for $1 at a dollar store.

Readers best impromptu dessert

Jane Glenn of Chapel Hill wrote in to share a recipe for a 3-2-1 Microwave Cake. Glenn received the recipe years ago from a friend in Louisiana, and it has been a go-to favorite for serving guests on the fly. She wrote: The reason I really like is that I can make one dish or many, depending on how many guests I have.

You will need:

For the cake mix:

1 16-ounce box of angel food cake mix

1 8-ounce box of any flavor cake mix (Glenn likes strawberry)

For the individual cake:

3 tablespoons of the cake mix

2 tablespoons of water

Mix angel food mix with your chosen flavored cake mix in a large resealable plastic bag. Set aside.

When ready to make a snack cake, mix 3 tablespoons prepared cake mix with 2 tablespoons water. Stir until thoroughly combined. Place mixture in a small microwaveable ramekin or bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Repeat for as many cakes as needed.

When cool, top individual cakes with favorite topping and Cool Whip or whipped cream. (Glenn recommends fresh strawberries and Cool Whip.)

Best for landscaping

If youre contemplating a swap of plants with the change of seasons, consider this tip from the Listotic website.

Dig a hole as big as the pot holding seasonal plants, such as mums. Fill hole with an empty plastic pot that is the same size. Drop seasonal plant still in its pot in the hole. This pot-in-pot landscaping trick means plants are easily switched out when they have died back or are ready to retire. See photos and more gardening tips at: nando.com/k3 .

Best tip for cutting boards

Hold cutting boards steady while you slice and dice in the kitchen by placing a kitchen glove between the board and the counter. The glove will create friction to help hold the board in place.

Designers best

Interior designer Lindsey Coral Harper tells House Beautiful that unusual uses for wallpaper can provide a visual lift in an otherwise staid decor. Use wallpaper in unexpected places: on a ceiling in a paneled room, in closets, hallways and small foyers. A great pattern or texture in small spaces can be a prodigious twist!

Best for bugs

Ill admit it. I dont do well with seeing anything in my home that has more legs than my dog. Creepy crawlies give me the creeps. So whats a homeowner to do when an unwanted, many legged or winged bug finds its way into the home and keels over? Pull out the bug tongs! I have a pair of scissor-handled tongs that have been designated as the bug picker-upper in our home. I covered the ends (grippers) with tape and store them under the bathroom cabinet so as not to be confused with other utensils. When something needs attention, I throw a paper towel over it and grab the paper towel and unwanted visitor with the tongs for a quick eviction. Many thanks to my friend Bridgette for the suggestion.

Best class for floral arrangements

Learn to create colorful fall rose arrangements with a 10 a.m. workshop Sept. 20 at Witherspoon Rose Culture in Durham. The class will focus on crafting arrangements for your home using roses, perennials and greenery found in your landscape. The 2-hour workshop costs $15 and includes roses, perennials, greenery, vase and instruction. Visit nando.com/roseclass to learn more and register.

Seeking your best time-saving tips

Are you a whiz at household multitasking? Do you have a tip for making morning or cleaning routines run more smoothly? Send tips to t opdrawer@newsobserver.com and youll be entered into a quarterly drawing for a gift card. Be sure to give precise measurements and to include your name and address..

Best of the tube

On DIY channel:

Window of Opportunity: When water began seeping through Natalias bedroom ceiling, she figured shed kill two birds with one stone by hiring a contractor to stop the leak and renovate her kitchen. But then the contractor made it worse. The water from the leak warped Natalias hardwood floors and the contractor fled with her money. Now, John DeSilvia must repair the roof to stop the problem and give Natalia the kitchen she paid for. Rescue My Renovation airs at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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

Top Drawer

Readers best tip for jewelry storage

Dot Winchester of Raleigh says that she finds that shallow ice trays are perfect for storing the earrings, pins and other jewelry that she wears most often. I keep them in the drawers of my vanity that are very accessible, she says. She purchased two trays for $1 at a dollar store.

Readers best impromptu dessert

Jane Glenn of Chapel Hill wrote in to share a recipe for a 3-2-1 Microwave Cake. Glenn received the recipe years ago from a friend in Louisiana, and it has been a go-to favorite for serving guests on the fly. She wrote: The reason I really like is that I can make one dish or many, depending on how many guests I have.

You will need:

For the cake mix:

1 16-ounce box of angel food cake mix

1 8-ounce box of any flavor cake mix (Glenn likes strawberry)

For the individual cake:

3 tablespoons of the cake mix

2 tablespoons of water

Mix angel food mix with your chosen flavored cake mix in a large resealable plastic bag. Set aside.

When ready to make a snack cake, mix 3 tablespoons prepared cake mix with 2 tablespoons water. Stir until thoroughly combined. Place mixture in a small microwaveable ramekin or bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Repeat for as many cakes as needed.

When cool, top individual cakes with favorite topping and Cool Whip or whipped cream. (Glenn recommends fresh strawberries and Cool Whip.)

Best for landscaping

If youre contemplating a swap of plants with the change of seasons, consider this tip from the Listotic website.

Dig a hole as big as the pot holding seasonal plants, such as mums. Fill hole with an empty plastic pot that is the same size. Drop seasonal plant still in its pot in the hole. This pot-in-pot landscaping trick means plants are easily switched out when they have died back or are ready to retire. See photos and more gardening tips at: nando.com/k3 .

Best tip for cutting boards

Hold cutting boards steady while you slice and dice in the kitchen by placing a kitchen glove between the board and the counter. The glove will create friction to help hold the board in place.

Designers best

Interior designer Lindsey Coral Harper tells House Beautiful that unusual uses for wallpaper can provide a visual lift in an otherwise staid decor. Use wallpaper in unexpected places: on a ceiling in a paneled room, in closets, hallways and small foyers. A great pattern or texture in small spaces can be a prodigious twist!

Best for bugs

Ill admit it. I dont do well with seeing anything in my home that has more legs than my dog. Creepy crawlies give me the creeps. So whats a homeowner to do when an unwanted, many legged or winged bug finds its way into the home and keels over? Pull out the bug tongs! I have a pair of scissor-handled tongs that have been designated as the bug picker-upper in our home. I covered the ends (grippers) with tape and store them under the bathroom cabinet so as not to be confused with other utensils. When something needs attention, I throw a paper towel over it and grab the paper towel and unwanted visitor with the tongs for a quick eviction. Many thanks to my friend Bridgette for the suggestion.

Best class for floral arrangements

Learn to create colorful fall rose arrangements with a 10 a.m. workshop Sept. 20 at Witherspoon Rose Culture in Durham. The class will focus on crafting arrangements for your home using roses, perennials and greenery found in your landscape. The 2-hour workshop costs $15 and includes roses, perennials, greenery, vase and instruction. Visit nando.com/roseclass to learn more and register.

Seeking your best time-saving tips

Are you a whiz at household multitasking? Do you have a tip for making morning or cleaning routines run more smoothly? Send tips to t opdrawer@newsobserver.com and youll be entered into a quarterly drawing for a gift card. Be sure to give precise measurements and to include your name and address..

Best of the tube

On DIY channel:

Window of Opportunity: When water began seeping through Natalias bedroom ceiling, she figured shed kill two birds with one stone by hiring a contractor to stop the leak and renovate her kitchen. But then the contractor made it worse. The water from the leak warped Natalias hardwood floors and the contractor fled with her money. Now, John DeSilvia must repair the roof to stop the problem and give Natalia the kitchen she paid for. Rescue My Renovation airs at 8:30 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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