One Day's Journey

Sometimes the days go by so fast. It seems I've only just gotten out of bed and it's time to make dinner and settle in for the night. There was a lot going on today, although no one thing I did required a lot of hands-on time. It was just the cumulative time each thing took that used up all the time in the day.

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.


Kate said...

Did you ever try using a heating pad for the bread? I heard that could work. And now I want bread.

And Gracie has serious competition here. The kitten is pawing at him and he is steadily napping through. He's a champ!

Sher S. said...

That is a challenge to pick between the two moon blocks. I like both but for different reasons. I think the first one would go better because of all the colors used so far. But the other is striking. Gracie is doing a bang up job at her training and I'm glad to see Smitty helping her along. Great job kitties!! Your bread makes me hungry but I can't eat a whole loaf alone and my dh is celiac. Love the sewing machines pattern, maybe I should try that one. Love the little ladies also. Happy New Year!!! looking forward to more of your blog. Great Job!!!!

soscrappy said...

A folding bread proofer, what will they think of next? You little ladies are looking so nice all together. So glad you a have a plan worked out for the new year -- you are a step ahead do me!

Tami C said...

I have never made bread, but I sure do love eating it. I sure do miss it now that I'm on the Atkins diet, but it's worth it because I've lost 30 pounds now. I really liked the little stitchery that you called the "bird house". It's really cute! I like the fox of pure white sitting on a snowy hillside.

WoolenSails said...

That bread looks so yummy, miss yeast breads. I have never saved my beef bones, really good idea to make stock.


Brown Family said...

The bread looks delicious! the original fox best. I tend to loose the shape and dimension.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Oh yummo - love fresh bread and that looks so good! Gracie is going for the gold. I like the original block - need that little touch of color. Use the other for the label.

Vicki H said...

Your post has me hungry now but it is bedtime. I like the colors you used for the first fox best.

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

That bread riser dealie bobber rocks the house. Excellent idea with quality execution. Cool beans.

I lose the face in the all white fox so I'm voting for the colored one. They are some of the cutest animals aren't they ?~!

Anonymous said...

I had heard of a dovecote before, but it is definitely not an Australian term, so I googled it seems to be an ancient European term.

Your bread looks divine!! I have a fancy oven and it can go as low as 30 degrees Celsius and has a moisture plus feature where it sucks in water from a glass when it starts and puts steam into the oven at regular intervals - I love my oven so much!!

I vote for the brown fox :)

Dasha said...

An English term for a pigeon is a dove, and a dovecote is a purpose built bird house for doves. Wikipeadia states in part "Pigeons and doves were an important food source historically in Western Europe and were kept for their eggs, flesh, and dung"
I have seen some of them & they can be very elaborate structures of brick or stone. Take a look at some of the images on the Web.
I prefer the coloured fox, because I can't really see the face on the white one. But then you haven't shown the two blocks beside the rest of them so it is difficult to judge properly which would go best.
Anni Downs is the owner of the best quilting shop, called Hatched & Patched! It is in a town called Bathurst, about 3.5 hours west of Sydney. Sadly it is too far to contemplate a visit regularly. http://www.hatchedandpatched.com.au/
She does "do" shows though, so I sometimes stumble across her stall and I cheer when I do!

Jeanie said...

I had never heard of a bread proofer. My house is cold too, usually around 65, and I proof bread on top of the fridge or in the oven. Works fairly well.
Go, Gracie, Go! My money is on her... she has a couple of great coaches and I'm sure she has her technique close to perfection.
And thanks for the link to that darling pattern. I just love it!
Have a great Monday!
Oh... I like the brown fox the best.

Pieces to Love said...

Your bread look very good. I have an over the range microwave and I set my Bowl of dough on there and turn on the night light which provides the perfect amount of heat. Even my trays that I use to bake much rolls fit in the microwave.

Teresa in Music City said...

Oh wow! That bread would be so wonderful right now with my morning tea!!! Those sewing machines will be fun to make each month :*) Enjoy your margarita, you deserve it!

Kathy H said...

I had never heard of a bread proofer and we have the same problem with the rising bread here in the winter. I liked the darker fox better at first (more traditional colors I guess) but then changed my mind after thinking more about the arctic fox. Both are really cute.

Donna said...

I think my Angel could give Gracie a run for her money!
I like the idea of the arctic fox, but I think the colours of the regular fox stand out better.
Go Gracie...Go!

Ann said...

OMG!!! Gracie is so adorable. My girl cat is a great napper as well. Your bread gadget looks great. Nice to see it works well. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Your cats just look so snuggly - all wrapped up for a good snooze..
What a neat bread riser - that could be on my future want list..
Love the Moon blocks - I like the white embroidery fox block the best...
Thanks for all the wonderful ideas you share all the time..
Wishing you and yours a
wonderful New Year!!!!

Junebug613 said...

I've never heard of a bread proofer. How interesting. I think Gracie will surely win the Gold, with her fantastic coaches and fabulous physique. The new quilt is really fun! Oh, I like your Arctic Fox better.

Junebug613 said...

According to Wikipedia:
A dovecote or dovecot is a structure intended to house pigeons or doves. Dovecotes may be square or circular free-standing structures or built into the end of a house or barn. They generally contain pigeonholes for the birds to nest. 

legato1958 said...

I am always discover (and share with us!) Love that bread proofer.
And your dovecote embroidery.

I like your Arctic Fox best....

Make sure your Cat Treats aren't on the "banned list" for Olympics... it would be a shame for Gracie to do all of her training and not be allowed to compete at the end!

Happy New Year to you and your family!

Denise :) said...

OMGosh! I know what you mean about inviting hot, freshly made bread into the house and then keeping it waiting. The nerve! I'm so glad that Gracie has Smitty to continuously push her to the next level of napping greatness. Okay, as for the foxes. The new one looks more like a husky to me -- albeit a cute, siberian white husky. I still like the first fox the best. But it's not my block *or* quilt, so I say pick which one YOU like best of all! :)

Dar said...

Your bread proofer sounds intereeting. Have you tried setting it in a cold oven so it's out of the drafts and usually warmer than the open air of a kitchen in the winter.
I vote for the original fox. His cute face shows up better than the snow fox IMHO. Your bread looks yummy. I love anything with cinnamon in it.

Lynette said...

Gosh, I like both foxes! I went back to look at your photo of all the blocks, and I think in consideration of the look in the whole, I like the colored one better - keeps the hill and fox from competing with the moons in the overall look.

Lynette said...

Gosh, I like both foxes! I went back to look at your photo of all the blocks, and I think in consideration of the look in the whole, I like the colored one better - keeps the hill and fox from competing with the moons in the overall look.

Kate said...

I like the white fox best. I'll be curious to see which one you keep.

Gracie needs to be careful about over training, I've heard that can really derail your efforts.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I wish I could bake, but, it just doesn't turn out for me. Oh well, I can quilt. I'll download that Dream Machines pattern when I'm on my regular computer. The laptop isn't connected to any printer. Should be a fun project. Thanks! PS: Gracie, keep up the hard work!

Alla Blanca said...

Thank you for the Dream Machines pattern link! It is exactly what I need to go in my daughter's t-shirt quilt. I have been casting about for a week or so for some themed paper-pieced blocks, and this fits the bill to a "t".
Awesome, as always.
I like both foxes, but prefer the colored one for the contrast with the moon.

quiltzyx said...

You do find the neatest gadgets! I'm glad that it worked just as it was supposed to work. Now you'll probably be making my mouth water even more than usual....
Hmmm, I think I like the idea of using the arctic fox as your label. I had to look back at the original fox to find the white one's face at first! After I found it, I thought 'why couldn't I see that, it's right there?!'.
Cute sewing machines - another fun one to watch you build!

Go Gracie! I'm glad that Smitty is being supportive & not harassing her!

Sarah said...

I'm Australian and never heard of dovecote. Does seem like a very British word as a commenter above said. We still have quite a bit of UK terminology in our brand of English. But, I would have called it a bird house too!