Just a few leaves -- some evergreen, some glimmering silver as if dusted with snow -- add subtle wintry beauty to a candlelit chandelier.
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To dry leaves, lay down a sheet of newsprint, followed by paper towels. Arrange leaves on paper towels, then place a second layer of paper towels and a sheet of newsprint on top. Set stack in a phone book, and place in a dry, ventilated spot for several days. To make place cards, use a gel-ink pen -- ours had white ink, but metallic shades will also work well -- to add guests' names.
SourceMartha Stewart Living, October 2006
In Spain, revelers mark the new year by quickly eating a dozen grapes at midnight. The fruit is said to be a predictor of the year ahead: Each sweet grape represents a good month, each sour grape a less-than-lucky one.
Adopt the tradition by threading grapes onto skewers, and serve each in a glass of Champagne just before the countdown.
SourceMartha Stewart Living, January
Serve a meal in miniature: a sunny-side-up quail egg atop a piece of cocktail bread.
(Quail eggs are available at specialty-food stores, including some Whole Foods markets, and through LocalHarvest.)
SourceMartha Stewart Living, April 2009
A gaggle of helium-filled jack-o'-lantern balloons hovers near the refreshment table. The simple features are drawn onto the inflated balloons with permanent marker. Choose an assortment of geometric shapes that are easy to create freehand.
Create an idealized winter wonderland indoors using snowflake-like bouquet holders and a string of holiday lights.
SourceMartha Stewart Living, December 2007
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