This morning I decided it was time to take the beef bones I've collected over the past couple of years and make beef stock. I'm hoping to get about six quarts before all is said and done. It's all boiled down as I'm writing this, and I'm letting it cool before popping it in the fridge over night. It'll make it easier to skim the fat off if I do that. But I started this morning by roasting the bones with some carrots and onions in a hot oven for half an hour.
Meanwhile, I loaded some other vegetables, herbs, and seasonings into the strainer basket of my stockpot.
When the bones, onions, and carrots were finished roasting, I dumped the whole shebang into the stockpot, filled it with water, and off she went to boil for five hours today.
While that was going on, I decided to try out one of the new appliances Santa brought me. It's a folding bread proofer. Living in Oregon, I have a problem because I like to bake bread during the coldest part of the year. Since we're not made of money, we keep the house at a cool 68°, which is a little cool when one has bread dough rising. When I want to proof bread, I usually set it down next to the fireplace, which is a waste of energy, not to mention being a lousy way to proof bread. It tends to rise on just one side, and I have to keep checking it and turning it so that it gets warm all over.
Enter this nifty appliance I saw on the King Arthur Flour website, although it is available many other places as well. It's made by Brod & Taylor. It folds flat while it's not in use, and all of its parts can also be stored inside.
It has a nice slim profile when its folded down for storage.
Then it opens up into a nice tidy box when you want to create a warm environment for your bread dough, and you can set it to the exact temperature you like. Today I was using it to make a loaf of Cinnamon Swirl Bread.
It has a little water tray that keeps the environment moist so there's no need to cover your dough...and it works! My dough stayed nice and moist today and it didn't form a skin.
The interior is large enough to accommodate my 4-quart Pyrex mixing bowl...the one I usually use for bread.
And it has a handy window on top so that you can watch your dough without needing to lift the lid.
So I let that do its thing while I coached Gracie on her napping marathon technique. The cat is serious about her training for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Look at how intently she listens to her coach, and how seriously she is working at getting into the napping zone.
Her physique is perfect for this event. Just take a look at those cotton candy abs!
Today Smitty was backing her up while she worked out. He's her workout buddy, pushing her to sleep more deeply with his own purring and snuggling.
About then it was time to roll out the dough, sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar, roll it up, and let it rise again.
While that was rising, I decided it was time to get ready for the 2014 Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I've had this Dream Machines pattern (available free right here) matched up with some fabric for quite some time. This is another of Barbara Weiland Talbert's patterns that I found originally on the fabshophop website.
She also designed the pattern for my little rainbow ladies from last year's challenge:
So these are the fabrics I had matched up with the "Dream Machines" pattern. The feathery one is for the outer border, and the other two are for the inner border, binding, or sashing. I haven't made up my mind yet.
I'm planning to make one block for each month, for a total of twelve, rather than the sixteen shown in the pattern. Each block requires a fabric for the machine, the hand wheel at the side, and the thread color. With this month's color being blue, I decided on these fabrics. I'm going to use a complimentary color each month for the thread...so for this month, orange.
And with those decisions made, I'm ready to link up to yesterday's Scraphappy Saturday.
So about then, I put the bread into the oven to bake, and while I waited for that, I finished up one of the four little stitcheries for Section G of the Gardener's Journal quilt. This little stitchery is called "dovecote", a term that is unfamiliar to me. I would just call this a "bird house". This pattern is from Anni Downs, who is from Australia. Maybe one of you from Australia can enlighten me about this term. Anyway...there it is. Three more to go.
And I finished with perfect timing to take the bread out of the oven.
It had to cool on its side for 45 minutes, and then we wasted no time cutting into it. You have to, you know. It wouldn't be right to invite some bread into the house and then keep it waiting.
So with that all done, I had in mind to remake the fox block I made yesterday for the Hello Moon quilt. I wasn't happy with how my fox turned out, and when I talked about the Arctic fox, it kind of got stuck in my head. This block didn't take long to make, and so I made another one with the fox of pure white sitting on a snowy hillside. I simply embroidered in the details.
So here's the block from yesterday...
Which one do you like better? Mike has already voted, but I'm not going to tell you what he said. Tell me what you think, and that will help me decide which one to use in the quilt.
When I finished that I was just about ready to start on something else, only I decided I was tired. I couldn't drag myself to do one more thing today...except to write this blog post...and finish up the laundry that's been washing and drying all day.
I need for Monday to come so that I can veg out for a bit. Tomorrow I have physical therapy in the afternoon, and then I need to make a quick trip to the grocery store. The kids are coming up for a New Year's Day dinner of ham, baked beans, deli salads, and an apple-cinnamon upside down cake. We only started doing this last year, and any excuse to see my kids works just fine for me.
Now...I'll just bet I can get Mike to make a cranberry margarita for me if I ask real nice.