There are many paths to domestic bliss. For us, it was an innovative iron and some curvy plates. TIME previewed dozens of new products set to debut March 12 at the 2006 International Home & Housewares Show in Chicago. Here are some of our favorites.
THIS ONE HAS LEGS If you leave the Oliso iron ($99) face down and remove your hand, it springs up to rest about an inch off the board to prevent scorching, tipping and awkward wrist twisting. Touch the handle, and the legs retract.
SPARKLE WITHOUT THE SHINER The Screwpull Cork Catcher ($20) helps you open a bottle of champagne without losing an eye. The plastic device fits snugly over the neck. Just hold down and twist. The cork is contained but not necessarily the bubbles, so you will still need to keep a towel handy.
RYE HUMOR The Pop Art toasters by LC Premiums ($25 to $45) come with removable steel plates that burn designs--such as flowers and cutesy phrases ("I'm Hot")--onto the bread. To be sold separately: edible-ink markers kids can color their slices with before eating them.
STICK 'EM UP Starfrit's Quick Fix spatulas ($3 to $5) clamp to the edge of a pot to keep drippings off the counter and help minimize mess. The head is made of silicone--the hot material in today's kitchens--so it won't melt into the tomato sauce.
GO AHEAD, TOUCH IT The Vornado Zippi desktop fan ($20) is ideal for a small office or even a child's bedroom. The blades are soft nylon flaps, so even at top speed, they won't hurt your hand. The fan is also available in green or yellow.
DESIGN WITHIN REACH There's an empty space hidden inside the Coffee Towers cappuccino cup by Miam Miam ($50 for a set of two)--an airless pocket between the stainless steel and the porcelain that acts as an insulator to keep your java hot. The company's new Delite series of stoneware plates ($10 to $18 a piece) serves appetizers in style.