There are very few things you can do to prepare for unexpected guests - just hope you have enough drinks and seats to go around! Straight from Germany is a great new idea - the Gorgeous Helen, $20, which allows your table decoration and ambiance factor to go from zero to 60 in no time flat.
Helen is not a lady, but a set of 3 parchment shades, each one printed with a different white pattern. To prepare, all you do is roll the shades up, tuck the tabs into place, drop a votive candle into a wine glass, and place the lampshade over the top of the glass. Voila! Three gorgeous mini lamps ready to impress!