Posts by sachi:
It’s that awkward time of year in the office, when the names are pulled from a hat and you hope and pray you get Reg in accounts, a bottle of wine or a set of monogrammed hankies would keep him happy. Alas no, you’ve got the new girl from Marketing, and she has very high standards. Don’t panic! Here are some tips on how you can keep the peace with just $5.00-$10.00.
The first and most important thing to remember with this type of gift buying is: The etiquette of Secret Santa! Remember the whole ethos of this type of gift buying is it is a token, a gesture of your respect for your fellow colleague. A small agreed amount is to be spent and spending more could put the gift receiver in an uncomfortable position.
Begin with trying to think about what the person likes, this of course depends on how well you know them. Do they have any hobbies? Do they have one particular thing they collect? Do they like reading? If so and you know what types of book they like then maybe look for something similar.
Take a look at how the person dresses? Do they wear a lot of scarves, ties or belts? Accessories can be cheaply sought and still show that you have put a bit of thought into the gift. Things that are useful are likely to appeal, perhaps the person may like cooking or baking in which case look for an unusual cooking utensil or apron. If the person likes gardening then a small gardening tool or a set of gardening gloves would be appreciated.
So what do you buy the person who you don’t know very well? A lipstick holder, a set of make-up brushes or a compact mirror are all good options if you are buying for someone who likes their make-up. Other less personal items, such as accessories for the home, are always a nice touch too -especially if someone has just moved house for example. Candles and candle holders are usually well received and are easy to find.
If you do get really stuck food and drink is always a good plan to fall back on. To add a special touch why not personalise it and show you have put a bit of thought into it?
Christmas comes but once a year, so don’t panic! Keep it tasteful, don’t embarrass or offend and you’ll be surprised at how far just a little bit of thought can go, ensuring your gift will impress even the people with the very highest of standards!
Halloween is around the corner and what represents the ‘Trick or treat’ tradition more than the classical Halloween pumpkin in front of your house door. While you can muddle through some of the simpler designs with serrated knives, tablespoons and a small nail, you’ll see some extravagant and scary carved pumpkins. Trust me; your kids might have a second thought before ringing the bell and asking for candy. I will give you some tips to get you a great pumpkin with not a lot of work before Halloween rolls around.
Cover your work area
Make sure to cover the countertop, table or floor with newspapers or a sheet of heavy plastic. This way you avoid leaving a big mess in the house. If you plan to carve lots of pumpkins, you should consider working outside where any debris can be hosed off or swept away.
Cut top or the bottom
Always decide this beforehand, in order to remove the seeds smoothly. If you want to cut a hole from the top, you’ll have an easy way to vent the heat from a candle. If you cut it however from the bottom, you’ll have easier access for an electric cord.
AND DON’T FORGET – determine how wide you will cut the access hole. The hole should be large enough to fit through your hand, as well as being able to use a spoon/ scraping tool. About 6 inches in diameter should be fine.
Use washable markers or waxy china pencils
Drawing right on the pumpkin with a normal pen or pencil can dent the flesh and a permanent marker may not wash off. Hence, use both washable markers and waxy china pencils or draw your pumpkin design on a piece of paper first. From that point on you can transfer your design to the pumpkin.
Moreover, choose which side will be the front. Then mark the back side and cut a slit in both the lid and the adjoining pumpkin edge. This will help to realign the liquid after carving.
Plan where to carve
This is a vital tip. Keep scraping the areas of the pumpkin you want to carve. Scraping the inner walls down to a thickness level of about an inch will allow knives to easily cut through the flesh.
After that you can begin to carve the design into the pumpkin. It is highly recommended to use paring knives, utility blades or pumpkin saws. Most of these tools will be available in grocery stores during October.
Cut too much out by mistake?
No worries, you might be able to repair that little mishap. Try to reattach a piece of pumpkin using toothpicks or straight pins. If this doesn’t work you might as well use that pumpkin for dinner.
Keep cut pumpkins in cool place
Most important tip as many people leave the pumpkin after they finished their work. You need to keep it in a cool place whenever possible. At least setting them inside large plastic bags may help to keep the pumpkin from drying out.
I hope these little tips and tricks will make your effort on carving the pumpkin more enjoyable and easier. Till then – ‘Trick or Treat!’