From Lowes or other hardware store: Cost - just under $10
ceramic light fixture
plastic electric box (25-30 cents - usually blue or gray & is set behind drywall to house the wiring)
15 foot extension cord (or you can use a cord cut off from an old appliance, like a vacuum)
40/60 watt cfl (twisty) bulb
From Central Utah Electrical Supply, 735 S. State St., Provo: Cost - $14
dimmer switch (one that you can plug into - see step 3, below)
Optional, from Radio Shack:
small speakers to attach to iPod for fire sound effects
Fire sound effects - CD can be found online from several sources or individual sound tracks can be purchased from sources like iTunes.
Red, orange, yellow cellophane or tissue paper or other item to create flames (usually found at an office supply store or craft store)
1. Using wire cutters, cut off the end of the extension cord that receives plugs. DO NOT cut off the end that plugs into the wall. Strip insulation cover from wires to expose about 1 inch of wire. Split enough of cord to make it easy to wire to light fixture.
2. Feed end of exposed wire into the bottom wire opening in the electrical box. Attach wires to the screws on the bottom of the light fixture following enclosed package directions. Attach light fixture to the electrical box with screws in the fixture package. Add light bulb.
3. Plug end of extension cord into the dimmer switch. Plug dimmer switch into another extension cord and plug into the wall. Turn on dimmer switch to test.
4. Shape flames into a tube or cone shape and place around and above bulb.
Build your artificial fire by placing your light and speakers on the floor where you will be building your fire. Tape cords to the floor if needed to prevent tripping. Stake logs around the light and speakers to hide the mechanics of your fire. Enjoy.
*I don't know how this is done, but I've heard about putting small fans from old computers in the fire to make the "flames" dance. That would be cool. I've also heard of artificial smoke machines and smoke smells. I'll let you find it, though ;)