Have you ever wanted to unlock your door with a fingerprint? Control the indoor and outdoor lights with your phone? You can do those things and more with a smart home. We show you how to get a home with connected technology and remote-operated devices that are designed to improve and simplify your life. We sift through the many options, including smart appliances, new apps, and smartphone and tablet innovation, and only bring you those that can make your life better. We give you tips and tricks for navigating the new home technologies and help you with buying decisions.See More
Peruse the woods on a snowy evening for inspiration -- and material -- for this pretty dinner-party tablescape in dreamy winter whites.
A wreath greets guests at their seats when you wrap napkins in these frosty rings. Pull berries from a strand of garland; be careful to remove each berry with its wire still attached. Wrap the wire securely around a grapevine ring. When you've attached as many berries as you like, brush the berries with a light layer of decoupage adhesive or clear-drying glue, and sprinkle them with clear glitter. When dry, bookend the berries with sprigs of greenery stuck through the grapevine.
Invite woodland creatures to your table with these place card holders, crafted from plastic toy animals.
Your tabletop will twinkle with candles covered in a dusting of faux flurries. To make, pour Epsom salts onto a flat surface. Sprinkle in glitter, then mix. Apply a layer of decoupage adhesive to the candle sides using a paintbrush or foam brush. Keep glue away from the top and top edge of the candle so salts and glitter stay clear of the flame. While wet, lay the candle in the mix of salts and glitter. Lift, rotate, and set the candle back in the faux snow until all sides are covered. When dry, arrange as a centerpiece on a tray covered in fake flakes.
Your guests will be sitting -- and sipping -- pretty with pinecone-petal seating cards. Click to the next slide for instructions.
To achieve the pinecone flower shapes, cut straight through a pinecone with pruners. (One pinecone yields multiple blooms.) Paint the petals white using acrylic paint. When dry, write guests' names on leave cut from green cardstock, and slide the leaves between the petals. Place a pinecone flower on the rim of a glass at each place setting.
Imagine the stars shining brightly in the winter sky when you dine underneath this stunning chandelier, which was crafted on a shoestring. Spray-paint a bare branch white. When dry, make it a perch for clip-on songbirds (available at crafts stores). Place removable adhesive hooks on the ceiling, then hang the branch above your table using two ropes. Tie hanging tea-lights or votive holders from the branch using fishing line. Light the hanging votives and watch the nature-inspired chandelier sparkle sans crystals.
Enjoy your final course on a dessert plate that's as flaky as the pastry or pie you're serving. Dress up an inexpensive glass or clear-plastic plate with a blanket of drawn snowflakes. Before you doodle, wash the plate so it's free of grease and fingerprints. On the underside of the plate, draw snowflakes with a white Sharpie oil-base paint marker. Let dry and flip over. Once you've polished off your dessert, hand-wash gently, being careful not to scrub the bottom of the plate.
Whether it's from scratch or store-bought, dessert tastes sweeter when it's served on a made-by-hand cake stand. Cut two different-size logs for the pedestal and platter; hot-glue together. Set a circle of cut cardboard between the wood base and cake bottom. Click to the next slide for garnishing ideas.
Top your frosted treat with a tiny evergreen: Cut a sprig of greenery from your holiday tree or garland, and strip the growth around the base. Push the sprig into the end of a cinnamon stick. Use a short length of jute or twine to tie a bow where the sprig meets the stick. Push the cinnamon stick "trunk" into the center of the cake. Or, try a log-pile topper. Tie stacked cinnamon sticks together with jute or twine.