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Dress up ordinary glass vases with glamorous gilt and candlelight.
Here's how: Spritz the exterior of each vase with adhesive spray. Apply a sheet of metallic leaf over the tacky surface, allowing three to four sheets for each vase. Burnish the metal leaf to the sticky surface by smoothing with your thumb before sealing with a clear coat of matte lacquer spray. Fill each vase with water; add a floating candle and light.
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Go green with a forest of fragrant rosemary for the tabletop.
Here's how: Put a 2-inch layer of gravel in the bottom of a container for drainage. Fill to just below the rim with potting soil and insert five young rosemary plants in a row. Place floral moss around the stems to conceal dirt. Trim each plant to accentuate the treelike shapes.
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Transform wooden snowflakes and stars into dazzling holiday coasters.
Here's how: Select wood shapes 5 inches in diameter, coat with metallic spray paint, and let dry.
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All Tied Up
'Tis the season for a stylish wreath made from satin bows.
Here's how: Choose three shades of ribbon to create a pleasing palette. (To decorate an 18-inch wreath, allow 90 feet of ribbon cut into 15-inch lengths.) Tie individual bows, side by side, to wire wreath rings, packing closely for a lush look. Suspend from hooks or a long loop of coordinating ribbon.
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Takes the Cake
Get glowing with a cluster of bright balls for a table or mantel.
Here's how: Place one small cake stand on top of a larger one. Arrange small and large glass ornaments—both shiny and matte—on the stands.
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Turn a gilded frame into a party-perfect perch for drinks.
Here's how: Remove hardware from the back of a gold or silver frame. Place cardboard insert from frame onto wrapping paper and trace shape. Cut out paper and slide into frame beneath glass.
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Make a brilliant statement by embellishing a simple candelabra with a garland of crystals.
Here's how: Loop crystal beads over the arms and, if needed, anchor with a short length of jewelry wire. Encircle the base with a few additional silver garlands.
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Let It Snow
Craft your own winter snow dome and shake it up, baby.
Here's how: Attach three miniature tree ornaments to the inside lid of a screw-top jar with a dab of silicone. Let dry 24 hours. Fill jar with distilled water, and add one teaspoon of mineral oil and one teaspoon of glitter for every inch of water. Close jar tightly and secure rim with a bead of silicone sealant.
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Have a Ball
Revive a romantic tradition by hanging a kissing ball in the hallway.
Here's how: Tie a satin ribbon bow onto the top of an oversize ornament (ours is 10 inches in diameter) and attach a sprig of mistletoe. Use a ribbon to hang from a doorframe.
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Instead of one big bouquet, arrange a centerpiece using stemless goblets.
Here's how: Fill glasses with a few inches of water, then float a couple of stephanotis blossoms in each.
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Dressing for the Occasion
Make dinnertime more festive by adding a few flashy touches.
Here's how: Set the table with simple white linens and metallic-accented dinnerware. For a touch of whimsy, float a grouping of ornaments over the table. Hang them with lengths of ribbon from thumbtacks.
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The Sweet Spot
To keep the party going after dinner, put out a spread of self-serve treats and head to the living room for dessert.
Here's how: Display goodies on assorted trays, tiered servers, and footed cake stands in the same gold and platinum color scheme. And forgo a traditional centerpiece of flowers in favor of votives and a few decorative objects.
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Let It Shine
Break out several sets of plates to create a striking table arrangement.
Here's how: Layer a combination of solid, stripe, and starburst dishes. Top a shiny charger with a coordinating dinner plate and a gold-rimmed shallow bowl. To add drama, incorporate one bold color—ruby, royal, or plum napkins, perhaps. "Not everything has to match when you're entertaining," says Jennifer Sbranti, founder of hostesswiththemostess.com. "Try a modern mix of styles. For instance, coordinate decorative china with more-casual everyday plates."
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Use natural elements to create an easy and inexpensive centerpiece.
Here's how: Fill a beautiful bowl with seasonal items such as fresh cranberries, or pinecones dusted with glitter.
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Candlelight creates a warm, romantic ambience and make everything—and everyone—look better.
Here's how: Cluster unscented white or cream candles on mantels, tables, buffets, and windowsills around the house. Place them near reflective surfaces to magnify the glow.
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Three words: Keep it simple.
Here's how: Serve a signature cocktail or two, or limit it to just beer and wine (along with nonalcoholic options, of course). Display your offerings on a shimmery tray to add sparkle.