Monday, December 20, 2010

Top 5 chores I have to take care of before the impending parental Christmas day visit

List by Tosca

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
- Author unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby

My parents had the same place in South Auckland for 25 years. Then, last year sometime, they both decided to uproot and move, permanently, to Taipa. In the far north. For some reason. Can you sense my disbelief? Not being a fan of small towns (I've heard the internet is dodgy in small towns and I have nothing concrete to base this on but I'm quite happy here in the Big Smoke all the same please and thank you) I was left homeless. I'm kidding! Sort of. It did leave me looking for a new place. After living with another sibling (lucky I had 8 to choose from, eh?) for about 3 months while looking for somewhere, I finally found a house. That's the good news. The bad news is that while I wasn't looking or listening someone decided it was a good idea to hold our 2010 Christmas celebrations here. Not being a Christmas person this is...a challenge. And I'm finding that 5 days out from the big day, there are a few chores left for me to take care of in order to prepare for the impending parental visit. It's not that my parents are fussy - I'm (almost) certain they'd enjoy their time down here because they can see all of us in one place at one time. I think it's more that, at 35, I still care what they think. And I would like for them not to worry about us. Even though they effectively left me homeless LOL I'm kidding, mum! Yes, she does read this blog :) So, this post is for those of you still with oustanding Christmas chores lists to achieve by Saturday!

Creatively wrap presents - Wrapagami : the art of fabric gift wraps / Jennifer Playford
Discover how to use a simple square of fabric to beautifully wrap gifts of any shape or size - with Wrapagami. In this gorgeously photographed book, award-winning designer Jennifer Playford, inspired by the traditional Japanese fabric wraps known as furoshiki, shows exactly how to use fabric to create modern, eco-friendly (they’re reusable) gift wraps. It's so easy - all you need is a square piece of fabric - and with a few simple twists and ties, you can creatively wrap a wide variety of shapes from simple rectangles (such as books) to more challenging shapes (bottles) to things you might previously have thought un-wrappable (melons). Clear written instructions, easy-to-follow diagrams, and beautiful photos of the finished wraps make it easy to wrap expertly the first time. Jennifer shows the basic techniques for every shape, and presents twenty-five stunning wraps, complete with decorative embellishments for every occasion, from weddings to birthdays. Also included are innovative ideas galore for using wrapagami every day (carry your lunch, and then use the wrap as a picnic blanket) and reusing the wraps (to wrap again, or repurpose in a multitude of ways).

Tosca's note: When I'm not being lazy I try to be creative when wrapping gifts and make my own wrapping paper. In years past I have painted, dyed, stamped, dried flowered (don't ask), origami-d and newspaper-ed presents. This year, I'm going to try wrapagami-ing instead. Wish me luck!

De-clutter my room - Organize it! : how to declutter every nook and cranny in and outside your home / Mervyn Kaufman
Clutter and disorganization can make even the nicest home difficult to live in. For readers who find it impossible clean up, Mervyn Kaufmann comes to the rescue with this useful guide. Beginning in the entryway, the book takes readers through the public spaces of a home, showing how to identify problem spots and fix them.

Tosca's note: I'm slightly obsessive about keeping the rest of the house clean but my room - my own personal space - is a free-for-all and, as far as I'm concerned, can be as messy as I want it to be because who sees it, right? Unfortunately, this year, my parents will. It's my room they'll be staying in while they're down. My mother will be the first to tell you that, growing up, my room was appalling. Shoes, socks, jerseys, bags, name it, it lived on the floor. As an adult I'm not that bad anymore but it could do with a good clean. And maybe a few tricks to make it look bigger than it is. Oh, halp!

Clean the house (because it can never be too clean, right...?) - All new housework songs [CD] / Various artists
Housework songs [CD] / Various artists
Housework songs. II The spring clean edition [CD] / Various artists

3 cds full to bursting of songs to get me through the dreaded full on spring summer

Tosca's note: I firmly believe (and this is thanks to mum because she did the same all my life) that housework, a detestable chore at the best of times, is made better with music. LOUD MUSIC. Music that *makes* you want to clean. Music that makes you feel good about what you're doing. Music that can set the beat to the vacuuming, wiping, dish drying and spiderweb removing. Music that, in short, makes the time fly. Is my house really that bad? I'll never tell :P

Tidy the section - The grass is greener : our love affair with the lawn / Tom Fort
In this text, Tom Fort traces the history of lawns from the first mention (Henry III) through famous lawns to the present day, interspersed with his own efforts over the year of the book in creating the perfect lawn.

Tosca's note: I don't want the perfect lawn. I don't even want the perfect garden. I just want the big mess out the back to be gone. Somewhere, anywhere. Plants die when I try to grow them (including cacti) so I gave up on gardening years ago. When people would give me plants as gifts I would in turn give them to mum (she thanks you all, by the way) because she wouldn't commit mass plant murder. Who would think pretty trees and hedges would be problematic? Our neighbour decided to put up a new fence and that involved their cutting our shrubs, trees, hedges and piling them on our back lawn. We hired a skip, which arrived today, but it's dirty and hard work traipsing back and forth with cuttings etc. And so I sit here, covered in plant mess, snail slime and probably lizard droppings (I'm assuming they have droppings) feeling a quiet satisfaction that it's almost complete. Round two tomorrow night. Why the rush to get it done? I can't mow my lawns until it's all gone! And it'll be the first thing dad will notice LOL

Make a pavlova - Pavlova / by Genevieve Knights
Simply titled Pavlova, this quality publication is the first of its kind - a baking book solely dedicated to the world famous and iconic Australasian recipe. Following on from scones, Pavlova is the second book in the baking series from New Zealand chef and food writer Genevieve Knights. The reader is educated about the history of pavlova, provided with numerous tips and tricks to achieve the best results, followed by 50 mouth-watering recipes. Each has its own introduction, recipe page and full colour photograph. The recipes are divided into four main sections - cakes, miniatures, rolls and an innovative section where the author comes up with some very unique twists.

Tosca's note: I offered to take care of the pavlovas this year. Which may be the stupidest thing I've done yet because, as much as I enjoy the act of cooking, I don't do that good a job. Everyone else in the family tends to buy them and now, 5 days out from the big day, I'm beginning to understand why. Considering I'm a beginner I don't think I'll start with any variations on the iconic dish. I'll start by walking before running :) Wish me luck because I may seriously need it!


Annie said...

Luck wishing has commenced.

Gosh Tosca - it's like we're twins.
Word of advice - DON'T live by yourself - then your whole HOUSE is like your own bedroom. *Sigh*

Somewhere today I read that Simon Holst's pavlova recipe is the one to try.

catatonia said...

Hey Annie - season's greetings :)

Lived on my own a couple of times and, at first, was quite careful about keeping things spotless. Then, somewhere along the way, it just kinda uhh got lost and things were everywhere :)

Simon Holst! Hunting it up now YAY :P