Make your table a feast for the eyes with these fast decorating tips that add sparkle and life to any meal.
Give holiday table settings a creative and unexpected twist by putting your costume jewelry to work. Large bracelets make perfect napkin rings, and necklaces add panache to hurricane lamps. If a necklace is too short to drape around the hurricane lamp, use fine wire to extend it.
For a romantic, dressy table -- perhaps a New Year's Eve dinner for two or four -- layer on the rhinestone jewelry: Drape a silver candelabra with necklaces and earrings and scatter large rhinestones (or crafts-store look-alikes) around the table to catch the light.
Give tea lights an elegant look by coating them with tiny glass beads. Remove the candle and push a long nail through the bottom of the metal cup. Wrap the outside of the cup with double-stick adhesive tape and roll it in the glass beads (available from a crafts store). Use the nail to attach the cup to a piece of fruit, making sure the cup rests securely and is level. Replace the candle in the cup.
Collect mismatched flea market cups or goblets and fill them with petite bouquets to decorate each place setting at a dinner party. To send the cups home as party gifts, use dried flowers glued to plastic foam inside the cup; that way, guests won't have to worry about spilling water.
Create a dramatic centerpiece with lightweight papier-mache or plaster planters from a crafts store or florist's supply shop. To keep the greenery fresh, line the planters with plastic trash bags, then stack blocks of water-soaked florist's foam in the bags. Insert evergreen branches and decorate them with cranberry garland and kumquats. To make kumquat ornaments, string wooden beads, kumquats, and holly leaves on embroidery thread.