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How-to tips for food dyes, hoop earrings, scones and more

These beauties are lovely to look at and even more lovely to eat.
These beauties are lovely to look at and even more lovely to eat.

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.

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Get creat­ive! You can make these earri­ngs in a varie­ty of shape­s and sizes­. Raymond Hom

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)

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Bend wire over a jar to achieve the shape you want. Peter Ardito

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.

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Extra point­s for perso­nalit­y: The natur­al wood is easy to paint any color you pleas­e. Raymond Hom

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.

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Create an appealing color statement by showcasing deep-blue dishes and glassware alongside. Raymond Hom


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.

Let us help you! Email your questions to askmartha@marthastewart.com, or send them to Ask Martha, c/o Letters Department, Martha Stewart Living, 805 Third Avenue, 25th floor, New York, NY 10022. Please include your full name, address and daytime phone number.

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