How To Narrow the Legs on Your Pants!

I needed/wanted some new brown leggings or really skinny legged pants.
Remember that the weather here in Minnesota has been BELOW ZERO for days and days….
Going out to shop did not sound like fun….
Then I remembered these really nice Eileen Fisher Knit pants that I found at GoodWill a few years ago.
They are a really nice knit fabric!
They are a nice cocoa/mocha brown color!
They fit!
But THEY ARE NOT the least bit skinny…..!
In fact….they look darn wide legged and really short in this photo.
When I washed them…I never used the steam iron to stretch them….
Really they looked OKAY when I did press them.
I wore them as soft wide legged slouchy pants….
but obviously….since they had been hanging in the back of the closet in their FAT state…..I figured it would be no loss to try to turn them into narrow legged pants.
The Nordstrom Eileen Fisher Site has these pants for sale!
Yup….Skinny Knit Pants for $208…..What a bargain!
This is what I did to turn MY $5 GoodWill pants into a pretty good replica!
The waist and hips of the pants fit pretty well.
I didn’t need to mess with changing the size there.
I cut open the outside of the legs up to about 6 inches below the waist.
I cut the entire inseam open.
I figured skinny pants should not have a baggy butt!!!  
That meant it would be okay to take in some of the crotch area of the pants.
The next step was to measure the center of the front and back of each leg.
I pinned them together in the center spot.
I measured the legs of a pair of pants that had the right pant width.
This determined how wide to make the new seams.
The reason to cut the pant legs open and repin the opening is to make sure that the seams line up on the inside and outside of your leg.
Then…..a quick straight stitching of the seams….
I do have a serger, so I was able to finish the new seams nicely….but a little zig zag would also work!
Now those $5 pants look almost like the $208 pair!
If it ever warms up….maybe I need to go shopping and spend the $200 I saved!
Have A Great Day!

Link Parties

DYI Scarf Organizer

Happy New Year from Sweetwater!
This photo makes it look like Mr. S and I had some elegant, fancy New Year’s Eve Celebration!
We enjoyed NOT being with a crowd of people!
Just some leftover Alfredo Sauce served with some tasty scallops….
a couple of episodes of Boardwalk Empire
A glass of wine and early to bed!
It was actually a pretty nice New Year’s Eve.
Hope yours was just as nice in it’s own way!

Organizing is what you do before you do something, 

so that when you do it, 

you are not all mixed up.


Like the rest of the world….I have the organizing bug….just a slight case…..nothing serious, but I did clean a couple of drawers yesterday and I am determined to put the Holiday Decor away in some sort of sensible order with (GASP) labels on the boxes….
I did take a break from my organizing to do some blog reading….and of course it was the organizing tips that caught my eye….(maybe my organizing bug is more serious than I thought)!  
Irina’s Cute Box
This post about a simple way to organize scarves caught my eye:
I am sure you can empathize with my bin full of disorganized scarves hidden under the bed….
They look that way because the only way to find the one I want is to STIR through them….YIKES!
I decided to make one of these organizers…..and since it was WAY below zero outside…..I wasn’t going outside….no way–no how!
Mr. S….now that was a different story….he was on his way to Home Depot… I enlisted his help.
I also enlisted his advice…..hmmmmm…..and he came up with the idea to use PVC pipe joints!
He brought home a bunch….paid about 65 cents a piece for them….
They are nice and sturdy….but I was worried that because they are so deep, the hanger and hot glue would support them.
More advice from Mr. S…..use TWO hangers….
I got to work with my trusty glue gun….
First I arranged the PVC in one hanger and started gluing them together and along the edge of the hanger.
Then I slid the second hanger over the other edges of the PVC pieces and continued to add beads of glue until it felt secure.
It turned out like this…..not bad….and I like the fact that the 2 hangers will keep the bottom from shifting back and forth.  The depth of the PVC also makes it nice for thicker scarves.
This picture is NOT taken from the inside of my closet….why…..because I haven’t gotten to the rest of the organizing that it needs!  The scarf organizer filled with scarves takes up about 5 inches of space in the closet….I plan to use it to keep the scarves I am wearing right now….the rest can just stay in the box under the bed!
NOW for the BAD NEWS!
You may have noticed that I did not title this post “Thrifty DYI Scarf Organizer”!
Because after buying the PVC….
this little project cost the same or MORE than the scarf organizers you can buy!!!
Oh Well….I like mine better….and I didn’t need to go out in the cold to buy one!
Happy New Year!
Stay Warm!

Pasta Bar For a Crowd!

Four Parties in Six Days!
What was I thinking?
 Christmas Eve…. 
Christmas Day….
A Cocktail/Fondue Party…
 and finally a Pasta Buffet yesterday…
There was lots of celebrating here at Sweetwater!
We had lots of fun through it all….
(but I do have to admit that I am a bit tired of cooking)
I had never attempted a pasta buffet before…. 
there were some moments when I wasn’t sure it was going to work….
but we were pleasantly surprised at how smoothly it all went.
In fact….this might just become a go to menu for future gatherings!
The menu was simple:
Kale Salad
Caesar Salad
French Bread
Spaghetti Sauce Bolognese
Swedish Meatballs in Gravy
Alfredo Sauce w/chicken-broccoli-roasted peppers
Fettucini and Wide Pasta Noodles
 Various Desserts and Sweets contributed by the guests
Swedish Rice Pudding w/Lingonberries

Recipes Tricks and Tips

  • Best recipe for chicken strips for the Pasta:  Buy them…..Already cooked….in a package….  The texture and taste of the already prepared chicken strips from CostCo were more than acceptable when covered with sauce!
  • DON’T blanch your broccoli ahead of time….I thought this was smart and did it to save time….except I left it in the pan with the cover on and ended up with mushy over cooked vegetables….won’t do THAT again!
  • Cook the pasta ahead of time and keep it in the oven with the absolute lowest temp….in fact…I kept turning the oven off to just have the tiniest bit of heat.  The pasta was in those aluminum catering trays.   A little pasta water poured over the pre-cooked noodles brought them “back to life” when it was time to put the pasta on the table.  (a warming tray kept the temp “lukewarm”)  This also allowed an easy replenishing of the pasta when needed.

This Sweet Kale Salad from CostCo is a new favorite at Sweetwater.  It comes with all the fixings. Just pour into a bowl…add the dressing and “stuff” that is included and enjoy!  It was simple enough to make a second batch when it ran low during the party….maybe people thought a little crunchy greens would make for something “healthy” given the decadence of all the pasta!

  • The Bolognese sauce was “almost homemade” by using prepared Spaghetti sauce with meat and spices added.  I really made this for the kids….but the “big” kids seemed to enjoy it too!
  • I sort of stressed out about finding the “perfect” Alfredo Sauce that could be made ahead!  This recipe worked very well….in fact the teenage boys at the party told me they thought this would be great for their own sports “Pasta/Carbo loading parties….which I took as a “high compliment”

Do Ahead Alfredo Sauce

1/2 cup real butter
3 TBSP Cream Cheese *nuefantel worked fine
2 Cups Heavy Cream
1 Cup grated Parmesan  (store brand cheap stuff worked fine)
Melt the butter, cream cheese and cream in a saucepan,
Add the cheese and stir until it is completely incorporated.
Cool and keep until you are ready to heat it up in the microwave and put in the crockpot to serve.
YES….it is that simple!
Simple….but rich, rich, rich and YUMMY!
This sauce stood the test of sitting for more than 4 hours on the buffet without losing texture or taste!
It is definitely a KEEPER!
  • Mr. S decided that pouring frozen bags of prepared meatballs and adding mushroom soup and beef broth would NOT do for this buffet.  He painstakingly prepared meatballs from SCRATCH using a recipe from his mom’s Swedish Woman’s Cookbook!  I have to say they were delicious!  (maybe I can convince him to write a guest post and share the recipe with you some day!)

  • Add some crusty sliced bread and butter…..A bowl of nice Parmesan Cheese and you are DONE!
The party was lots of fun and there were plenty of entertaining activities!
….the Vikings WON the final game in the Metrodome….Surprise!
….The Packers pulled off a last minute victory…..amazing!
….the slide show on the computer of hundreds of digitized slides of the family history going back 50 years made for some wonderful trips down memory lane!
Now…..I am going to heat up some of the leftover Cider…..start a fire…..and read a good book….
ALL DAY…..since it is 10 below zero outside and I don’t have anywhere to be!
Have a Great Day!

Fur Real Problems at Sweetwater

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

We seem to be dragging….I mean extending….the celebration out over a long enjoyable week of one party after another.

We had a mid-day Brunch here for just our family on Christmas Day.
We sat in the beautiful sunshine in the living room to open gifts!
ARGHHHH…..the cat hair was floating through the sunlight…
It was on everyone’s clothes….
And I thought I had done a good job cleaning!!!
Glad it was JUST the immediate family…..
although I think I heard the Sweetwater Son say:  “that is just gross”!
Have you seen these toys….it was one of the requests for our Adopted Christmas Family!
The toy really looks “FUR-REAL” and after seeing all the cat hair that is collecting at Sweetwater….
Maxine and Marvin better watch out!!
Anyway….we are having a couple of gatherings for a bunch of people in the next few days….
I knew I needed to spend some serious time getting rid of the cat hair….

I spent a few minutes researching for some magic formula…..this link has a couple of things that might be interesting if you have a “fur-real” situation at your house.

Tips For Cleaning Pet Hair from furniture!

As for me….I just bonded with the vacuum cleaner for an hour or two… was sort of therapeutic :)

I washed all of the throws from the couches…..the lint trap told it’s own story!

Now if I can just catch the REAL  FUR-Real kitties at my house….I will use the furminator on them!

You have a Nice Day!

Link Parties
Freedom Friday  Sincerely Paula  

Traditional Swedish Rice Pudding

Mr. S is 100% of Swedish Heritage!
There are a lot of holiday food traditions that go along with that Swedish Heritage!

Grandma Marion in the Christmas Eve Kitchen!
I can’t tell you how many Christmas Eve afternoons I spent in the kitchen with my Mother-in-Law learning the ins and outs of Swedish holiday food!
The other tradition:  Dinner was served at 5PM SHARP!
It was always interesting to see if the “boys” would get back from their drive around the countryside (subtext…..sharing some liquid Holiday Cheer) in time for dinner!
So….I know how to make Lutefisk…..but I never do!
I know how to boil a Swedish Potato Sausage and I even have the recipe should I want to stuff some pig innards some time! 
 (Probably NOT)
I make a wicked white sauce….no brainer….!
And even though I can make the powder sugar covered tea cake cookies….I let my brother-in-law make them as his are almost identical to Grandma Marion’s!
The one staple of the Swedish Holiday Smorgasbord that I always make…. 
Rice Pudding with Lingonberry Sauce!
Here is the recipe in the Swedish “Women’s” Covenant Cookbook!
Mr. S is always sure to comment about a recipe from this cookbook:  “That should be good because so and so always brought the best food to church!”
Anyway….you can see that I needed to put a mark by the recipe we like as there are several competing recipes in the book!
I use the ingredients listed but don’t go into the elaborate way of putting the pudding together!
Sweetwater Rice Pudding
2 1/2 Cups Cooked White Rice (I cook mine in the rice cooker ahead of time)
3 Eggs beaten
3 Cups mix of Skim Milk and Half and Half (because we never have Whole Milk)
1/2 Cup sugar….although I think I always add a bit more because people like it sweeter)
1tsp Vanilla
dash salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1 Whole Almond
Preheat oven to 350
Beat the eggs, milk sugar and spices together
Add the cooked rice and stir to mix well
Put in center of the oven on a baking pan filled with water.
Bake until center is set….about 40 minutes…
Halfway through….push the whole almond into the center of the dish….
Why the almond?…tradition has it that the person who finds the almond in his/her serving will have good luck for the whole year!
Lingonberry Sauce
If you don’t know what a lingonberry is….it is sort of a tiny little cranberry that is even more tart.          You can buy them frozen in our Minnesota grocery stores during the holidays.  
They are really a crimson treasure!
To prepare the sauce…..mix the frozen berries and the juice in the container with half a container of water.
Add a 1/2 cup of sugar…..bring to a boil and simmer for about 45 minutes on low.
Pour in a glass container (so you can see the gorgeous color)
The sweetness of the pudding and the tartness of the Lingonberries are a perfect pairing!
Here’s wishing that YOU find the almond in YOUR rice pudding….or what ever else will bring you good luck!
And….I am sure the little Tomtem will be watching over you tonight!
 Merry Christmas from Sweetwater!