Spring at Last!

We are all excited that the warmer weather has finally arrived!  Boy, what a day of warmth and sunshine can do....my early tulips that had snow on them on Tuesday sprung forth bright little red blooms and my Coral Bells and Bleeding Hearts all made their entrance into the world too!  I think spring has sprung and I couldn't be more excited!

I've had a weekend of stitching and cooking.  Grilling to be exact.  Grilling and a nice warm spring day just seem to go hand and hand, so I decided to grill some Apple Wood Smoked Pulled Pork.  It sort of is an all day thing, and you need to "babysit" the grill.  I was able to get quite a bit of stitching in, while babysitting the grill, and enjoyed the lovely weather too!

It's been awhile since I've done a recipe share, so I snapped a few pics of the process, and thougt I'd share them with you all...
Apple-Wood Smoked Pulled Pork
Don't have a smoker?
 Neither do I, this recipe uses the indirect heat method on a Weber charcoal kettle grill or the likes. 
Ready?  Here goes...
The rub...
1/4 cup paprika
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons garlic salt
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon celery salt
 Mix spices, sugar and salt in a small bowl.  Store in an airtight container.  Will keep for up to 2 months.  This amount of rub will do two roasts.

Separate and skin garlic cloves.  I use a whole head of garlic...the more the merrier!
 Using an 8 pound bone-in shoulder roast (may be called a butt roast, too) with skin, make small cuts into roast and insert garlic cloves into cuts.   Oh yea, I'm feelin' like Martha now!!
 Using half of the spice rub, rub spices into/onto roast.  I've done this both ways.  Wrapping the roast with Saran Wrap and refrigerating overnight, or putting it on the grill right away.  Honestly, it is just as good without the resting time.
 Soak wood chips in water.   I always use apple wood, tis a nice flavor mix with the pork.  Soak chips about 20 minutes.
 The meat gets grilled, using the indirect heat method.  What that means is, you only put charcoal on one half of the grill, building up the charcoal pretty good along the side of the grill.  The meat will set on the side without the coals.
 Once the coals are glowing, add a couple good-sized handfuls of wet wood chips.  Let the smoking begin...
 Place your roast in a disposable tin cake pan, fat side up.    Add 1 1 /2 cups of water to then bottom of the pan.  Place the pan on the side of the grill, opposite to charcoals.  Place the lid on the grill, making sure that the vents are located over the meat.  This allows the smoke to roll over the the meat, as it exits the grill.
 Every hour you will add hot charcoal and more wet wood chips on top of the new charcoals. 
This gadget is really great for that...
 No peeking for the first hour...
and this is what it looks like with one hour of grilling. 
 The roast has formed and nice dark crust
 that will aid in keeping all the juices of the marbling inside of the roast.
 Continue to add fresh hot charcoals and wood chips each hour. 
It takes about 5 hours to fully cook. 
 This can depend on weather conditions, wind etc.
  Use of a meat thermometer is important.
 When a meat thermometer reaches 200 degrees, it is ready to take inside. 
 I immediately wrap the roast, tightly in tinfoil, and let it rest for 30 minutes.  This will keep all the juices inside of the meat. 
 You may be thinking 200 degrees seems too hot? 
 I know, so did I.
  Standard cooking time for most pork is 170 - 180 degrees.
  I've always cooked this recipe for 200 degrees, and it always comes out fork tender.

While the roast is resting in the tinfoil, time to make a North Carolina-Style Vinegar BBQ sauce.  This is more spunky then saucy...much thinner in consistency, then the bottled sauces we buy on the shelf at the grocery store.
  These vinegary sauces are the original American Sauces.

1 1 /2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
 Heat the vinegar and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. 
 Add the remaining ingredients and warm through.

Remove the foil from the roast.  Cut away the top "fatty skin" that is on the top of the roast and dispose....
oh, baby, are you salivating yet?
I do leave smaller amounts of the blackened spices on the meat for more flavor.
 The roast at this point will just fall apart, with the use of a couple of forks.
 Pull apart in piece sizes that best suit your tastes. 
 You can pour the sauce over the roast or serve on the side, letting each person add the amount of kick they like to their own meat.
This is good served on toasted buns or just as is... and of course you can't have pulled pork without cole-slaw...mmmmmm, a match made in heaven!
Have a good week everyone,


Cute as a bugs ear!

Tiny little book of needles,
each decorated with tiny X's that make up it's cover design.
Offered in 3 sizes of needles. 
 Each sweet little book is home to six nickel-plated,
 high quality,
 tapestry needles. 
 The needles of choice for cross stitch.

A little stitching sentiment
 adorns the backside of each booklet.

Offered in sizes 24 - 26 - 28...
your most often used sizes of needles for cross stitch. 
What size needle to use? 
My general guideline is:
14 to 16  count - size 24
18 count  - size 26
32 count or above - size 26 or 28
Size 28's are my favorite for working over 1 thread on small count linens.
The bigger the needle number, the smaller the needle.
Just remember, the higher the count linen, the higher number needle size!
This is just what works best for me, others may have their own favorites. 
Remember, you want the eye of your needle
 to be big enough
 to gently open the fibers, slightly.
  This allows more room
 for the floss to move through the linen
 and prevents the floss from fraying.
The little book of needles
 are sold exclusively through www.countrystitchesonline.com
 can be viewed under the NEW ITEMS category there.
And lastly,
 a couple of sneak peeks...
The book of needle cover designs have been charted
for stitching,

are currently being stitched
 for future pattern releases. 
The above piece, "The Sampler House" needs some frogging...
Can you spot my error?
I stitched the crow onto the wrong letter...{sigh}
With thy Needle & Thread,


Quacks Me Up!

Woofta, after a busy and hectic day at Country Stitches I came home to total critter craziness.
Our snow has melted, though the wind had a slight nip to it, at least the sun was shining.  It's been awhile since we've seen the sun, a very long while.    I felt like putting my feet up for a while and just sitting at the kitchen table and enjoying a peaceful cup of coffee.  I thought I'd warm myself in the sun for awhile before deciding what the heck I was going to make for supper. 
I'm drinking my coffee and looking out the window and I spot this duck.  Don't know what type of duck it is...seems to be something more then a mallard.  So it's a duck, but ducks don't usually hang out in my back yard.  The duck didn't move.  He seemed to have his head tucked under his wing....at least that is what I was hoping....I was hoping that the naughty hawk that frequents our yard didn't spot him first.....
I guess what I'm trying to say is,
I hoped the duck still had a head...
 I did take a picture,
 you dumb duck,
and now your photo is all over the blog world.
  You have now gone viral,
what do you think of that? 
  Gack, gackgackgackgack!

By now my coffee has grown cold, cause the duck was distracting me and I forgot to drink my coffee.  So, I get up to put a splash of hot coffee into my cup and I am startled by a noise at my window.  I look over and all I see is this
and dirt hitting my window.
Visitor number 2...
The furry rat had the nerve to just sit there in my flower box and stare at me whilst I slurped my cup of coffee. 
  A window peeping squirrel? 
Can I call the cops?
  You do know,
 they only remember where they put there nuts 2% of the time... 
My next thought was...The cat? 
Where's he at?
  He usually knows where all the squirrels are at.
 I can't believe he isn't right here up in the window sill....
I better go find him. 

This is where I found him...
Now I'm really feeling a little disappointed....
this is WHAT goes ON while I'm away,
 hard at work??
 you no longer do squirrel patrol?
No more kitty treats for you.
And your asking yourself,
can't she really find something better then an old Amazon box to put her floss in?
 ask myself that too,
everytime I find this 12 pounds of fur in my box.
Thinking I need a box with a lid before I cough up a furball,


Avry turns one!

I'm not sure where this past year has flown to, but it happened and our little Miss Avry is already one...
She was so cute in her little birthday outfit, just had to share some photos with you.  Mommy ordered it on etsy, just love those ruffles on the fanny...
Time to unwrap gifts...
We were all impressed with Avry's "gift opening etiquette".  She went for the cards first...
There were presents for big brother Beckham, too...
just because  :)
When Mommy came home with Avry's birthday balloons,
 Beckhams reply to Momma was,
"thank you Mommy for bringing me home balloons"....was so cute!
Avry helped big brother open his "just because presents" too...
And here we are,
still holding onto our birthday card...
what is mom putting in front of me today to eat???
this isn't Gerbers,
this is good stuff...
and lastly,
after the party was over Avry and Momma looked at the birthday pictures...

was so cute...
Avry would look at the picture of herself and then look up at Momma and giggle...

Thanks for allowing me to have a little "grandma brag book moment"
with you all!
Have a good day,


A new discovery and stitching...

the two (new discovery & stitching) have nothing to do with each other...
Gotcha' didn't I?
You were thinking this blog posting was going to be about a new stitching gadget or something, right?

{My New Discovery} Really the word yum doesn't do these justice.  They are yummy, scrumptious and delicious, but my plate wasn't long enough for a longer word....and have you ever tried making a word with nuts?
 Not the easiest thing to do,
so yum it is!
You are thinking this just looks like almonds...
but folks,
 these aren't just ordinary almonds,
they are flavored almonds!
To die for...
The dh brought home a bag of raspberry flavored ones on Saturday,
it was gone by Sunday.
I was feeling a little low in Vitamin E and foods rich in antioxidants,
so a trip to the grocery store was in need on Sunday.
I didn't tell the dh what the trip to the store was for,
nor did he tell me there were flavor choices of nuts...
There are raspberry, blueberry, strawberry,
hold your breath....
mocha, caramel macchiato and roasted coffee.
So, I spent Sunday stitching and snacking on almonds.  It was a nice mix.
   I made good progress on the Summer Sampler,
 and emptying my bags of almonds, too  :) 

A little peek at the Summer sampler,
tis full of green leafy things,
 all green and growing...
While stitching, I was distracted by  pieces of paper spread out around my feet on the floor in front of me,
(future designs and luscious silk flosses that are screaming, stitch me)
 urge to try the coffee flavored almonds... 
I have this problem when I'm stitching.
I always want to be stitching something other then what I'm stitching...
Anyone else have this problem?
being the disciplined person that I am,
 I told myself that I would treat myself to the coffee flavored almonds
 in celebration of the finish
of the
Summer Sampler. 
 off to eat some almonds...
I figured since I fingered all the ones for the photo shoot,
 I had better eat those, right? 
It wouldn't be right
 putting them back into the bag for the dh to eat
after I touched them....
that would not be right.
Hope your week isn't too nutty,


Floss Keeps!

For those waiting,
we now have a good selection of floss keeps in stock!
 You can find them here.

Get 'em while the pickin's are good!
Have a good day,


Catching Up!

It's been awhile! Time to check in with you all and let you know I'm still here!
  This posting will have this, that and the other...so bear with me!
The dh and I escaped to the Florida gulf coast for a few days of relaxation and the warmth of sun.
We also took in a couple of Minnesota Twins baseball spring training games.  Ladies, this is how you get you guys to get away...you entice them with a baseball game or two!!
The day time temps were high 70's - low 80's, cooling down in the evenings to jacket or sweater temps.
This was our view. 
The sunsets over the gulf waters are spectacular.
Not sure of their name, but these little shore birds were so cute.  They ran along the waters close to shore, just always in front of the crashing waves...sort of like me in the water!
Our last morning there, was after a nighttime high tide.  
  We enjoyed a morning walk up the shoreline.
The hightide deposited all sorts of goodies...
Shells and creatures that this Iowa girl isn't familiar with!
Such as this....
I have no idea....just know I wouldn't want to step on it while swimming! 
If you look real hard at this shell, you will see a living critter in it. 
Such a perfect shell, but you are not allowed to take any shells with living critters in them.
I'm totally okay with that, trust me!
This "thing" scared the "bejebbers" out of me...
Cow's tongue?  Just kidding, remember I'm from Iowa!
 Help us out, you Floridians....
what is this!???
and, another shot of those cute shore birds...
I came home rested and re-energized. 
 Worked a few days, playing catch-up,
 and then these two little darlings
 and their parents arrived for a long Easter weekend.
  Here we are at the water park. 
 Can you hear Beckham's teeth chattering??
Purple lips ='s water that could be a tad bit warmer!
This was Avry's first water park visit.
You can't have Easter without dying eggs... 
 We used the traditional dissolve tablets, and tried Kool-Aid also this year.
   We decided that we liked the brightness of the Kool-Aid eggs best.
 Did you know grape Kool-Aid gives you brown eggs? 
In our jammies with our Easter baskets!
  Love this picture...
The Easter bunny also hid eggs outside in the yard.  After the initial egg hunt, we had three more egg hunts at Beckham's request.   So we just hid empty eggs!    He was more about the hunt, then the candy inside!  We also took the eggs to great grandma and grandpa's house and enjoyed our 4th empty egg hunt there!

 X X X X X
Moving onto some stitching news...
The beeswax bars and needle keeps are now back in stock. 
 If you haven't seen these, these two items feature the "Bee Keeper's Sampler" on their labeling. 
These can be decorative or some use beeswax to condition their thread.  With time the beeswax will develope a dull white surface...I like it best that way!  This is normal for beeswax and is called, bloom. 
 The wax is supplied to us from an Ohio beekeeper and the cute little bars are then assembled here at Country Stitches.

The wooden needle keep comes with 6 cross stitch needles. 
Perfect for when you need something little for gift giving or the need to just say, "thank you".

The Elizabeth Clark antique reproduction made the trip to Florida with me.
Here she is...
I made nice progress on the piece while on vacation.
 Love those grapes and the little man in his pink pants!! 
And lastly, the Summer sampler charting is completed.  I am working on finalizing floss selection and then stitching will begin on it.  For those inquiring minds, it will release just as soon as it is stitching and framed, completing that seasonal series of samplers.
Happy Wednesday,