Here are fresh ideas to elevate the everyday.
INSTANT UPGRADE: PRETTY SWEET
Here’s a natural way to tint frosting any shade. These plant-based food dyes, courtesy of McCormick ($7 each, walmart.com), let you go Technicolor. Try mixing yellow (from turmeric) and red (from beets) into buttercream to top sugar cookies. Learn how to re-create the hues and get the recipes at marthastewart.com/ombrecookies.
DO-IT-YOURSELF STYLE: HOOP DREAMS
Reshape your destiny — or at least your spring look — by learning how to craft these simple, sculptural earrings. To make a few surprisingly inexpensive pairs, all it takes is high-quality yet inexpensive gold wire, a couple of tools and a few minutes of your time. Plus, if you lose one, no worries. You know just the jeweler to create a replacement.
HOW-TO HOOP EARRINGS
- Fire Mountain Gems 22-gauge 12-karat-gold-filled wire ($6 for 5 feet, firemountaingems.com)
- Cylindrical object (such as a spice jar, shot glass or spool of thread)
- Circular pliers Bead Landing mini anvil and ball-peen hammer ($24 and $8, michaels.com)
STEP 1: BEND IT For an oblong shape, wrap both ends of wire around cylindrical object, leaving the middle straight. For a circle, wrap it all the way around. To make closure, form one end of wire into a loop with pliers, bend other at a 90-degree angle and cut.
STEP 2: FINISH IT Strengthen wire by doing what jewelers call “work hardening.” Lay flat on anvil and tap with hammer; turn over and repeat. You’ll know you’re done when metal is harder to bend and clasp springs closed easily.
CLUTTER CONTROL: DOOR PRIZE
Here’s a space-saving solution that’s worth its salt (and pepper): Cut down on morning bathroom time and carve out a quiet space just for you by mounting spice racks on the back of a closet door to corral your beauty essentials. You can even invert one of these narrow shelves and use it as a towel-bar-slash-accessories-perch; just slip out the two keyhole-shaped brackets on the back, flip them, pop them back in and hang it upside down. Behold: your very own stress-free dressing station, with no one knocking to come in. Source: IKEA Bekvam spice racks, $4 each, ikea.com.
MORE OFF-THE-RACK IDEAS
Beyond spices and beauty products, these minishelves are also great for stowing books:
- Mount one next to a kid’s bunk as a bedtime-reading rack.
- Hang one in the kitchen to hold a cookbook open while you make dinner.
- Stack a few on a wall to display art or photography volumes.
CELEBRATE: IRISH BREAKFAST
These scones pack the hallmarks of a favorite St. Patrick’s Day bread — with loads of currants and caraway seeds — into a single serving with a light, fluffy texture. Just mix, scoop, bake and enjoy with a spot of tea.
IRISH SODA SCONES
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda, 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar and 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cut 1 stick cold unsalted butter into small pieces; work into mixture with your fingers or a pastry cutter until dough resembles coarse meal. Add 1⁄2 cup dried currants, 2 teaspoons caraway seeds and 1 cup cold buttermilk; stir until just combined.
2. Scoop 1⁄3 cup–size mounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, 3 inches apart; bake until bottoms are golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool on sheet. Meanwhile, combine 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons whole milk and 1⁄4 teaspoon grated orange zest. Drizzle over scones; serve.
CELEBRATE: LUCK ON THE GO
Surprise the leprechauns in your life with these St. Patrick’s Day snacks. For the recipes, go to marthastewart.com/luckysnacks.
1. TRICOLOR CRUNCH Salute the Irish flag with clover-shaped cucumber crisps, carrot and celery sticks, and do-it-yourself ranch dip.
2. COIN TOSS To sweeten the pot (or their lunchboxes), tuck in a few shamrock-stamped chocolate medallions ($12 for 68, orientaltrading.com).
3. PURE GOLD Pinches of turmeric (they won’t taste it, promise) and cinnamon give this frothy hot white chocolate its end-of-the-rainbow hue.
THE PALETTE: CAMEL & COBALT
When you’re working with a neutral base, you can go through a blue (or red or green) period. This color range lies between indigo and the deepest tropical sea. Arrange plates, art and accessories in this dramatic hue on natural-colored shelves and walls to instantly update them. Sources: Serena & Lily Reese bookcase, $1,498, serenaandlily.com. Jung Lee Federica Blue pitcher, $68, jungleeny.com. Ballard Designs Bunny Williams goblets, $59 for 4, ballarddesigns.com. Barneys New York Simple Life Ebru marbled salad plates, $58 each; and dinner plates, $68 each, barneys.com. March Blue on Cream Spatterware bowls, 9 inches, $55; and 13 inches, $100, marchsf.com. Minted Mountain Pastures wall art, $93, minted.com. Made Goods Cole stool, in Cobalt, $625, shopcandelabra.com. Sherwin-Williams paint, in Everyday White (on wall), sherwin-williams.com.
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