Those of you who have followed along on my DIY/remodeling journey have graciously embraced my lack of finesse on many of the things traditionally associated with keeping up a home. Cooking and entertaining haven’t exactly been in my wheelhouse, and for good reason: they don’t really mix with drywall dust and bug poop. At least, not at a dinner party I’m willing to attend.
Generally speaking, if you work hard, houses don’t always stay covered in dust. As things are renovated, one starts to see a glimmer of a life beneath the demo. And that’s where I’m at these days. My kitchen is probably one of the better examples of this, since it used to look like a grimy mess:
And as of just a year or two ago, was nice enough to decorate for Christmas:
Despite the finishing touches like needing to add the door hardware (which I’ve purchased), building in a pot rack (working on the plans now!) and other things, I’m still proud of how I turned this stomach-churning cabinetry into a room to learn to cook in.
And by “learning to cook”, I truly mean that: cooking hasn’t exactly come to me naturally. I once tried to make chocolate chip cookies using one of those easy mixes that required just an egg and softened butter added to a dry mix. But I read the ingredients as they were listed on the bag, so I didn’t read the “softened” part until I had gotten down to the second step of the instructions and already started adding everything together. To solve my butter problem, I stuck the whole thing in the microwave (you see where this is going). The result was melted chocolate and a chipless, gooey mess. I was studying international business in college at the time, by the way — proving once again that education and common sense are two different things. :)
So, anyway: I’ve started cooking this year. I’ve done my share of baking, but that’s usually with family recipes and not experimenting at all with ingredients. Recently, I succeeded in making a new soup, and it was delicious (K tried it and we had it two nights in a row, it was that good), but the end result still wound up looking more like mush. I laughed at my arrogance of thinking I would wind up with something photographable and sharable the first time trying out a new recipe that I made on the fly. It instead wound up in the fridge with zero photographs of the results. I snarfed down a second bowl the very next day, however, so the evidence of my mishap is now gone, and it will be making a return appearance once I figure out the appropriate cooking time (I think it was just the pasta cooked for too long, and tortellini being a stuffed pasta, that’s kind of important).
Speaking of the fridge, I may have just reached peak adulthood: I actually got very excited that my recent partnership with Sears Parts Direct allowed me to get my fridge back in full working order. My typical experience when something breaks or needs maintenance is that I have to find the manual and dig up specific parts’ numbers and it leads me to procrastinate (as is perfectly logical, because even though I usually hold onto appliance manuals, remembering where I put them is an entirely different story). Instead, their site is built to look up the way a normal person would, by appliance model (or name) and that gets you a full parts list and you can identify them visually. So, it was a matter of a few clicks versus scouring through a lost document for obscure codes. I’ve had a shelf on the fridge door that’s been busted for who knows how long, and I’ve been running out of space every time I buy a new seasonal 6-pack or order out (given the frequency of both of those things during the holidays, that’s kind of annoying to not have enough room). So now, I have one small (but also constant) irritation crossed off my list.
I also used the opportunity to kill two birds with one order and replaced my fridge’s water filter (raise your hand if you are way overdue like I was!). In general, you should replace your fridge’s water filter every six months, but it also depends on usage (if it slows down or has an odor/taste/sediment, replace it sooner). I never realized that it had been impacting the actual flow of the water dispenser until I replaced it (instructions here, but for me it was a simple untwisting of the cap in the back of the fridge, then switching out the filter and twisting it back on — otherwise I would have written a separate tutorial for ya). Boom: like new again, tea for everyone. (P.S. You can set up a steady shipment of these for convenience’s sake — there’s a discount and free shipping if you sign up on the Sears Parts Direct site).
And as the title of this post implies: I’m very much in Christmas prep mode at this point. Part of it is because I’ll be out of town for Thanksgiving entirely (friends of mine are renewing their vows and our travel dates fall over the holiday weekend, plus there are family conflicts so we’re all basically just accepting that December will be super packed). Some years, I can barely keep my schedule on track to put the tree up (coughcough, 2016). Other years, I’m anxiously waiting for when it’s “appropriate” to MAKE IT RAIN GLITTER. Speaking of, did you see the first (of several) DIY ornaments I’m creating this year? It’s only natural that if you have to stage an ornament post early in November, you might as well put the tree up!
This time around… I just need the holidays a little early. I can’t fully explain, really. Maybe it’s because 2017 has been so exhausting, news-wise? I really want to have family over for dinner, make cheesy Christmas memories, watch silly movies in front of the fire in festive socks and pjs, all of that stuff. In order to do those things, I feel compelled to get an early start and avoid any last-minute stress, fix the things that need fixing, get my projects done a little early, etc. That also means setting new goals on a neglected guest bedroom, so I’ll be sharing the start of that with you next week (and a tour video so you can get all of the “before” in its real, horrifying glory, haha).
Disclosure: Just in case that wasn’t obvious enough, this post was sponsored by Sears Parts Direct. Big thanks to them for getting me the parts I’ve been needing to fix a bunch of things around the house!
Have you been fixing anything lately?