two fails and a win

Wouldn't you know, I would finally start feeling better here in the third trimester, just in time for swelling, sleeplessness, and general fat-ness to start making life a little more difficult?

There are some things I've been meaning to get to for months... maybe years... that I've finally taken on. As encouraging it is to get some stuff done and have a little fun while doing it, I am not really feeling the Winning At Life. What's funny is, the thing I thought would be easiest ended up being a total failure, and the thing I thought would be the hardest has been surprisingly, upliftingly, easy.

Thing 1 To Do: make jam. I have wanted to start canning and preserving for a while now, but for some reason I have been too intimidated to try it. I've read a billion recipes and how-tos and essentials, but it wasn't until I found some cheap strawberries that I worked up the nerve. And guess what: it is REALLY TART. Like really tart. And a little runny, which I was expecting because I used honey instead of sugar. Mostly it's the TART that makes this a fail. I will have to open my 12 little jars, dump it all back into the pot, add some more sweetener, boil it a while, TASTE TEST THIS TIME, and re-jar and re-process the whole batch. Not the worst thing in the world, but...ug. I already made this jam, and I am not really stoked about making it again. Verdict: FAIL

Thing 2 To Do: make soap. Making soap is another of those things I've wanted to do for a while, but I was (somewhat more reasonably) intimidated. My brother even made me a soap mold for Christmas last year, but it's now mid-October and I have just worked up the nerve. Except... something went horribly wrong with what was supposed to be a fool-proof method. My soap, it is not hardening (that is, I can't get it to trace). I've got another hour of attempting to trace, but if it doesn't thicken up I'm going to have to toss the whole thing and go cry in a corner regroup. (And buy more olive oil.) This is really, really disappointing. I had such high hopes for soap-making, and because I don't know where I went wrong, I don't know how to fix it for next time. Verdict: FAIL

Thing 3 To Do: take down the wallpaper border. The room that will be our nursery was a nursery a few years ago, too. The walls are the only non-[sorta]white walls in the house, and there was a "darling" wallpaper border across the top. I mean, it was cute, but not anything I would ever pick. And not boy-appropriate (in my book). So it needed to come down. I was also planning to repaint the room white, to make it easier to decorate (I am all about easy. Easy totally dominates over cute, in my book) for The Babe of Unknown Gender. But repainting it white meant buying the stuff, painting the walls, painting the trim, and painting the ceiling so that there weren't 3 shades of white in one room (not that there aren't 3 shades of "white" in all the other rooms of the house). So this was kind of a Big Thing that I was Really Not Looking Forward To. First step: taking the wallpaper down. Because I am cheap, I started with the cheapest method - a bucket of hot water and a rag. Not even a scraper or a scorer or special chemicals. And guess what! It worked! I'm only about 1/8 done, but it's coming down pretty quickly. Really stoked about this, especially because when the border disappears and you look around in the regular daylight, the wall color itself is really not that bad! So I'm going to leave it. There goes the major hassle, not to mention the fact that my "total room makeover" is going to cost me pennies. The drawback: I will only work on it while Brian is home, as a safety precaution. I'm standing on a big, sturdy bed (and pushing it around the room as I need to), but I'm still standing on something.

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