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

Top Drawer

CorrespondentMarch 8, 2013 

Best craft

Celebrate the luck o’ the Irish with your little ones with a little crafting time. The Zakka Life blog shares a simple and adorable way to make shamrock cards with your kids. All you need is paper and a green stamp pad. Have your little one press her thumb on the pad and then onto a sheet of paper. Repeat this process three or four times, depending on the desired design, taking care to overlap the tip of the thumb at the shamrock’s center. Draw a stem. These would make great cards, place settings or invitations for a St. Paddy’s Day-themed party. (Remember: The holiday is next weekend.) You can see the finished shamrock at http://nando.com/9w.

Best for cookies

Put those Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies to creative use by making delicious, no-bake St. Paddy’s Day truffles.

You’ll need:

•  A package of Thin Mints (Or ½ box mint-flavored Oreo cookies).

•  One half block of cream cheese, softened slightly.

•  16 ounces of Baker’s chocolate or Andies candies, melted (can be done on the stovetop or in the microwave in 30-second intervals).

Step by step:

• Pulse the cookies in a food processor until you have fine crumbles. Add the cream cheese in a food processor until blended or mix by hand. Shape into 24 one-inch balls.

• Place on a waxed paper-covered, rimmed baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes.

• Dip in melted chocolate. Drizzle with another color of melted chocolate or sprinkle with colored sugars, nonpareils or sprinkles.

• Refrigerate one hour or until firm.

Best for ... everything?

The One Good Thing By Jillee blog says hydrogen peroxide deserves a place of honor in every home. It can brighten dingy whites; sanitize tooth brushes, boost the whitening power of your toothpaste, sanitize sponges and clean pots and pans.

Since bleach seems to be the only effective means I’ve found of cleaning grout, I especially appreciated Jillee’s post about whitening bathtub grout with peroxide.

“First dry the tub thoroughly, then spray it liberally with hydrogen peroxide. Let it sit – it may bubble slightly – for a little while, then come back and scrub the grout with an old toothbrush. You may have to repeat the process a few times.”

Find this and other tips at http://nando.com/9x.

Best for moving

Planning to move? Drop by the Joyful Organizer blog to get tips on everything from packing to unloading. We’ve excerpted a few of the blog’s moving tips here.

Before you leave your current home:

1 Make sure all children have their own bag packed with any toys, blankets or books that they will need to go to bed at night. These will help them feel comfortable during the transition.

2 Purchase an expandable file folder and fill it with documents such as birth certificates, passports and currency. These items should be carried with you, not shipped with your household goods.

3 Obtain written copies of the family’s medical records. Offices sometimes charge for these documents, so have a form of payment ready. Also, see if your doctor can refer you to a doctor in your new location. If applicable, ask for copies of prescriptions in case you cannot see a doctor quickly in your new location. If you have remaining refills at a local pharmacy, call to see if they can transfer them to a new pharmacy where you are moving.

4 Call utility companies to arrange for final readings. Give them your new address so any remaining bills can be forwarded.

5 If you are using a professional mover, ask about insurance for your items while in transit. You should also contact your homeowner’s insurance company to inquire about the same.

6 Fill out a change of address and mail forwarding forms with the Post Office. These forms can be completed at usps.com.

7 Pack irreplaceable or valuable items such as cameras, jewelry, wedding photos/videos, or family treasures to travel with your family. Also, keep in mind that most van lines are not climate controlled. Consider this when deciding to include items like candles with your other possessions.

8 If you are packing yourself, color-code your boxes. (Blue for the kitchen, red for the bedroom, etc). Involve your children; let each child pick his own color for his belongings.

See these and dozens of other organizing tips at http://nando.com/9y.

Designer’s best

The design experts at House Beautiful say the perfect amount of space between a mirror and the top of the mantel is seven inches.

Best of the tube

On HGTV

Quirky weds modern bedroom: Newly engaged couple Courtney and Jerad decided to buy a house instead of splurging on a dream wedding. quirky Courtney wants a home filled with unusual details, while her designer fiance has a more modern, minimalist style. It makes for strange bedfellows, but once they buy, a serious master bedroom renovation forces them to work with a designer to create a look they will both love. “House Hunters” airs at 7 p.m. Saturday. On DIYs

A whole new flow: New parents Anthony and Emily bought their century-old home a year ago. They renovated the bathroom and remodeled the third floor, but the dysfunctional kitchen remains. With the help of licensed contractor James Young and the “I Hate My Kitchen” crew, this kitchen takes on new style, flow and function. “I Hate My Kitchen” airs at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

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