Saturday, June 15, 2013

Warning: Shenanigans to commence in one week!

I thought you all might require a warning.
Nikki's family, as well as mine, will be under ONE ROOF in less than a week. CONSIDER YOURSELVES WARNED! We are making the Virginia pilgrimage this summer and are looking forward to seeing many friends and family, but the trip begins with us staying at Nikki's. 4 adults. 5 children. 1 dog. 2 cats. We are outnumbered.

In preparation Nikki purchased this...

And then made this....

Because she is an evil genius. And I mean that in the BEST possible way.

Our middle niece will be performing in approximately eleventy hundred numbers at her dance recital, which we will all attend the day after we arrive....hungover. YESSSSSSSSSSSSS.

In other news, IT'S ALL NIKKI'S FAULT...

I'm a bona fide Whovian. So much so that I totally had a dream last night in which I made out with David Tennant.

I'm sorry...I can'

It is ADDICTIVE.Watch it. Just DO it. I wish I'd listened to Nikki on this subject YEARS ago.
Mr. Mathlete and I have blown through almost three whole seasons in....a month? Nerds for life!

Stitchery news:

London is going in the suitcase! WOOOOOOOOT!!!! Although this section wasn't as bad as some of the others. Less confetti, more chunks.

Butterfly got its final blue hibiscus. (Nikki was really pushing me to finish my part on this because she wants it back. Mwahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaa....worked on MTM instead!)

And as previously noted, MTM got love... after 6 months...oops.

So that's all for now. With travel, stitchery will stall. But craziness will ensue! Please start a bail money fund now, kthxbye!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mea Culpa and Miscellaneous

Oh look! It's 2013! How did that happen! Does the fact that we blogged in our minds count? The correct answer is DUH, TOTES. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, trips to Philadelphia and Virginia, back to school, dance competitions, softball, happened. Apologies.

There has been lots and lots of stitching. Ever since January it has been nothing but the Paris Mandala for me.

After finishing my part of London in November and sending it off to Nikki, I was all, "OOOOO! PARISSSS! I lurrrrrrves you! You are so pretties!!!"

This was me Sunday night when I finished my portion, FINALLY.

I boxed that mess up at 10:30 that night. THAT NIGHT.

This was me after dropping it off at the post office yesterday.

I walked to the French bakery from the post office and got myself a croissant as that seemed most apropos, went home, ate and drank a cup of tea called Paris, and enjoyed the shrinking of my to-stitch pile.

And here she is:

The shrinkage of the pile is relative though. (Piles is another word for hemorrhoids, BTW. Oh yes, yes it is.)

Nikki was a stitching maniac and sent me ALLLLLLLLLL of our co-pieces. So Paris may be on its way back to her, but now Butterfly, London, Sampler (yes, Sampler has finally re-emerged as Nikki no longer felt like burning it), and MTM are all with me. I actually started on London yesterday. It's not picture worthy yet though. Nikki will be posting pics of her bajillion hours of work on this post.

But first, the miscellaneous part of the title refers to a recipe I'm going to share. I made this up and it was good. Nikki made it and ALL OF HER PEOPLES ATE IT AND LIKED IT! That's pretty much better than any four star review the New York Times food critics could ever write. My nieces and brother-in-law are hard-core in their food sensibilities.

I say "recipe" but what I mean is a general ingredient list and very vague directions. I call this:


I am not a fan of shepherd's pie, generally. Because peas. NO. So I used ingredients and flavors I do like.

I made 2-2 quart (approximately) casserole dishes from this, so you'll have one that night and one to throw in your freezer, unless you have a larger family than we do.

I browned 2 pounds of lean ground beef. Once it was browned I added a diced onion, a packet of Knorr French Onion Soup Mix, 1-2 cloves of minced garlic, 1/4-1/3 C. of ketchup, 2-3 T. of yellow mustard, a partially drained can of petite diced tomatoes, and a Claussen's pickle, diced. I let the soup mix do a little thickening action and then sprayed the casserole dishes and divided the mix between the dishes.

Next I spread 1. C of 2% shredded cheddar cheese over each dish.

I had already made mashed potatoes (I used about 6 large baking potatoes) using low-sodium chicken broth, another cup of the shredded cheese, 1/2 C. of light sour cream, 2-3 sliced scallions, and salt and pepper to taste.

I covered the meat layer with the potato layer and then I added crumbled bacon to the top. Because bacon. It went in the oven at 350 F. for about 30-35 minutes, but that was because I'd assembled it in the morning and it had been in the fridge. If you put it in the oven immediately upon assembly it probably wouldn't need nearly that long. Then I flipped it to broil for a few minutes until browning on top of the potatoes began to occur.

It looks like this...

Here's a summary of the ingredients. Most things are "to-taste". I'm an artist, not a scientist, ok?

2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 pkg. Knorr French Onion soup mix
1-2 cloves of minced garlic
1/4-1/3 C. of ketchup
2-3 T. of yellow mustard
1 14 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes, partially drained
1 pickle, diced
3 C. shredded cheddar cheese, divided
6 large baking potatoes
1 C. chicken broth
2-3 scallions
1/2 C. sour cream
3-4 slices of center cut bacon
salt, pepper to taste

Shockingly, for 1/5 of one of the pans, there's approximately only 356 calories. That's if you do the 2% cheese and light sour cream, center cut bacon, and lean beef though. Sorry to be a joy-kill.

That's it from me!

Nikki's turn to show you pretty pretties!

Hello peoples!! It's been awhile, no? It'll be totes worth it though, because I have lots of pretty piccies for you!

Let's just jump right in, k?

You've seen Paris, she's gorgeous right, and I only have to stitch one more effing tower, so I'm pleased as punch. Here is a close up of, what I'm fairly certain is the Opera House. If it's not, don't blame me.

What's next? Butterfly. Um....this piece is crack. I think we've said this before. But it's true. I had to literally remove it from my face and put it away so that I wouldn't keep working on it. For reals. I could have kept going and going and going. I would stitch this piece again in a heartbeat.

We'll start with a close up of the center. One more flower. The fractals are a bit annoying, but it's ok.

Oh, hello gorgeous. We each get to stitch two of these. They're lovely. I was going to stop there. With my part of the center and the interior border and one over one butterfly finished. I really was. Pinky swear. But....then Lauren and I got talking and we decided we really needed to work our way to the outer border so when we get to the end it's not just border forever, ya know.

So then this happened.

And I'm not the least bit sorry.

Do you see this corner?!?!? And that's without beads! It's insane! Now you know why I had to remove it from my face. Or I would have finished it and Lauren would have hurt me.

On to London-Oh London. Good thing you look so damn good, because you are not the most fun piece to stitch.

I think we've given up on counting hours at this point, especially with London. Can we just leave it at, it's a lot of hours? Cool. I decided to stitch the clock tower to the right of St. Paul's. It wasn't too bad, and it's quite nice to look at.

MTM! Can't believe I've had this one for soooooo long. Got my blue corners finished and the two gates. Next is the buildings!

And, lastly, Sampler. Look, let's just not get into it. It's a rough time for me and Sampler right now.

I have lots of WIP pics and even a completion and a frame job to share, but we'll just make that a separate post. This one is already more than out of control. Enjoy the pics. And we'll try our best to not go another five/six months without posting. Really, we will.

Lauren & Nikki 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


...because it's Nikki's turn now! Mwahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Cheerio and pip pip, London! Don't let the door hit you on the way out and mind the gap and all that!

As of November 13, 2012.

- Lauren

Friday, November 2, 2012

We are the WORST bloggers! (But the best secret keepers...)

OOPS! It's been over two months and no post. We're sure many of you are emotionally damaged as a result, because really, what's possibly more important to you than our blog? Our apologies. BUT!...there was a partially good reason for this.

We had a secret....

It was this!

Awesome Aunt's mom turned 100 (That's not a typo, people.) in September. Nikki and I, as well as my husband (see also: Nikki's brother), flew to Indiana to take part in the celebration. The invitations said no gifts. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA....hilarious! If you turn 100, you FREAKING GET GIFTS! It's the LAW. So we made her Chatelaine's Workshop 4. (For our stitchy friends, this marks our first Chatelaine completion! Woot!)

We did not post as we went because we also wanted Awesome Aunt to be surprised. Mission accomplished. We had a grand time with fabulous food (not to mention adult beverages....the little people were home with grandparents!!!!) and even fabulous-er people!

I've also resumed my love/hate relationship with London. There is visible progress, so it's more love than hate at this moment.

Butterfly has come very far. I just have to figure out how to print the portion of the pattern with my flower on it, stitch it, and then that goes back to Nikki.

I even busted out Mirabilia's "Holiday Queen" not too long ago, during a hate slump with London.

Hope everyone had a spooktacular Halloween and that the Great Pumpkin was good to you. I've been very busy helping my children with their candy supply and guarding against their possible over-sugaring by eating "some" of their haul. 'Cause I'm a good mom like that. Nikki started this process prior to Halloween by eating what she purchased to hand out. She is not only concerned about HER children, but ALL the children of her neighborhood. That's right. We are givers. We CARE.

For all of our Mid-Atlantic/New England readers, we seriously do care and hope you weathered Sandy safely. Best wishes to everyone in those areas.

That's it from me for now. Not sure when we may post next. I told Nikki I'd be posting this and then it was her turn soon. She laughed at me. RUDE.

Happy fall, y'all!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Arc de Triomphe

First building. DONE!

Close up of the rice stitches on the frieze

Completed work so far


Sunday, July 22, 2012

La Tour Eiffel

Just a quick update to share pics of tower number one.

I'm now blind, and possibly brain dead from the backstitching.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Groundhog Day

No, it's not February.
Anyone else have this issue sometimes?...
Get up, clean, change diapers, fetch 1,000 snacks for kiddies, run errands, stitch a bit while little one naps, make dinner, scold dog who's trying to eat said dinner off counter, hang out with the hubs, sleep, lather, rinse, repeat.


It's not that I don't enjoy my life. I have a fantastic husband and (mostly) adorable children. I have friends and past times I love. Nikki entertains me with texts peppered with vulgarity most days. That's fun too.
It's just that I sometimes feel I have nothing interesting to say. Unless you're super excited about how I used a vacuum hose attachment to clean out the fireplace. Or if you're totally fascinated by how I executed a chiffonade of basil. It makes ME happy but it's not exactly an Oprah exclusive.

So basically this is a giant excuse note for why I haven't blogged. Mea. Freaking. Culpa. (Nikki will be joining in on this sentiment later.)

Also, be forewarned...I am an Olympics junkie. AND an all things British junkie. You should know this from previous posts. It's a perfect summer Olympics storm. Just sayin'...big blog gap just waiting to happen.

But for now I have some pics for our stitchery junkie friends.

I went nuts on Paris trying to get my half of Part I done. Awesome Aunt came to visit and I wanted to get it totally finished to send it back with her. She did take it back but I couldn't quite get my part done. There's still my flower beds to complete. But other than that, Pay-ree is looking good if I do say so myself.

3 o'clock Specialty Stitch Diamond

6 o'clock Specialty Stitch Diamond

Paris overall as of July 9, 2012

I also have been Butterfly-ing. I am so in love with this. Gloriana's Deep Blue Sea is possibly the greatest silk known to humankind. So gorgeous. Again, iPhone camera sucks. SO gorgeous in person.

Butterfly Mandala (aka: Crack) as of July 19, 2012 

London, alas, will have to wait. (Much to my mother's chagrin....I have been scolded for not working on it by her once this week.) Once I get my part of Butterfly done and mailed off I will only have London left in the co-piece category. I will have no choice but to get on it....switching threads every five stitches....for yet another taupe....ARGH. It will get day.

Take it away, Nikki!...

Hello my peoples! (This is what Tenacious A is call everyone now, her "peoples") I kind of like it, in a 'my kid may grow up to be a megalomaniac dictator' way.

Much like my partner in crime up there I too have been very very lacking in the blogging department. And mostly for the same reasons. We're done with school now, but the kids still have practices and such so we can't go away for that long and miss too much. The older girls would live in the basement if I let them and threw food down occasionally. It's been so blasted HOT here I can't even shove them outside without risking heat stroke, and that's at 9 a.m.

What I'm basically getting at is this has all come together to be a really excellent way for me to be lazy and procrastinate on just about everything.

What have I been doing. Hmmmm...not a whole lot of anything interesting. I mean, I guess it's been interesting for me, but probably not for you.

Old Dog is KILLING ME. Slowly but surely. I had three days in a row of nothing to clean up. It was glorious. But I knew it meant I was going to be punished. And I was.

Mr. PotRoast is out of town for work this week. He picked a good week. Old Dog has had me up between 4:45 and 6 every morning. And the mess. Ooooooooohhhhh MY. The mess.  Today took the cake though. I was up at 5:30. Cleaned up the mess and decided to steam clean a bit later when she wasn't walking around so much. Couple hours later I steam clean. Pop a bagel in the toaster, spread on some cream cheesy goodness. Turn around. Pee. And it's been walked in.  Let me tell you how excited I was.

I was this excited.


And I am scared, Jessie Spano. I'm scared that I'm going to have to this again tomorrow. Like Groundhog Day.

OMG! I think our blog just got meta!!!

But you know what sucks? Unlike Jessie I don't have any energy pills. Just coffee and chocolate chips that I 'appropriated' from being made into cookies. Oops. 

Now that everyone's had their mind blown, let's get back to what you peoples really care about. I know it's not dog pee. 

I've kind of been stitching. I kicked butt on MTM. Finished the left hand corner and it's gorgeous. The blues are kind of addictive.

I just got Paris back the other day and have finished the right hand corner.

AND, just a little bit ago I started on the first tower! I'm going to be freaking blind by the time I'm done however.

A bit of the arch and one leg

Not much else at the moment. Sampler is still in time out. Bad sampler. I'm trying to pretend like I'm not taking the GRE in less than a month. And I'm counting down the hours until Mr. PotRoast returns because I am over doing his jobs and mine.

Peace out, peoples. Have a good one!

Lauren & Nikki