Try Rainmeter, a wonderful, highly configurable tool that enables "gadget"-like skins.
According to the site:
Rainmeter displays customizable skins, like memory and battery power, RSS feeds and weather forecasts, right on your desktop. Many skins are even functional: they can record your notes and to-do lists, launch your favorite applications, and control your media player - all in a clean, unobtrusive interface that you can rearrange and customize to your liking. Rainmeter is at once an application and a toolkit. You are only limited by your imagination and creativity.
Rainmeter is open source software distributed free of charge under the terms of the GNU GPL v2 license.
Here is an image of my desktop, using built-in skins. Thousands of additional suites and skins are available from web communities such as DeviantArt.