The Week in Motion – Crossfit

As the calendar marches toward fall and fall races, I have been dabbling in some Crossfit training to shore up my running. I tried a workout at a semi-local box called The Barn, and loved it, but driving one and a half hours round trip for a 45 minute workout doesn’t seem to make much sense. Especially when I can do most of the exercises at home with stuff we already have.

So, I have been using workouts from Crossfit Quest of Humble, TX. I really like the way they structure their workouts; they all include a warm up, strength component, and then the work out of the day (wod). There is usually some sprinting in the warm up and the wod, which I love.

My non-running fitness goal is to do a handstand pushup. As my regular pushups are far from perfect, I have a ways to go, but expect photos when I get there. Happy week in motion!

The Writing Thief by Ruth Culham

School has begun here and the last month I have been consumed by teaching. This week I am musing about The Writing Thief by Ruth Culham.

Image from Amazon

Image from Amazon


In chapter one she lists some ‘ zombies’, routines that should be dead in any classroom but keep coming back. Most of these zombies are dead in our school, with good reason. But when I saw vocabulary lists as a zombie, I had some questions.  I give my students lists of vocabulary words from texts that we are reading in class and academic words that they will need in all subjects. We work on these words all week.  I don’t assess students on these words with a quiz, but they do need to know them for other assignments and to read other texts. I don’t make students copy dictionary definitions like I did as a student, but we draw pictures of the words, play games with the words, make sentences with the words, discuss roots, synonyms, antonyms, and origins.


My question for you is this: How do you teach vocabulary in your classroom? How do you assess student learning? Do you periodically give them lists of words that they need to know for success in school and life?

Happy teaching!



Trying Style Arc Patterns

I tried my first two patterns from Style Arc, an independent pattern company based in Australia. I chose the Julie pant, which a slim pant for stretch woven fabrics. Every month, Style Arc give away a free pattern with each order and for July the pattern was the Emily Top, a yoked T-shirt with a twisted pleat on the right neck side.


The patterns come printed on thick paper, with written instructions and a swatch of recommended fabric. The Emily pattern is straight forward, except for the pleat detail. I found the written instructions to be confusing and when I searched the online tutorials at the Style Arc Website, I found no help. When I did a Google search for “Help with Style Arc Emily top” I found a Style Arc tutorial on their FaceBook page which was VERY helpful. However, the pattern instructions and the tutorial instructions were not the same. For example, the pattern instructions say to sew the neck binding short ends together before sewing the binding the neck edge and the tutorial tells you to keep the binding in one piece when attaching to the neck (this is the only way that works). One I got over that speedbump, the rest of the shirt came together like any other top. I do like the way it fits and think that their patterns are very original and fashion forward.

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The Julie pants I have not made a real pair of yet, but I did make two muslins and think that I have the fit down well enough to try a pair for work. I will show those when I have them completed. My first muslin was too tight in the thighs ( I HAVE been running this summer!) so I added an inch to each side and that seemed to fit the fit issue.

I think that Style Arc patterns are worth a try if you are an intermediate to advanced sewist, but proceed with caution if you are a beginner. I would try more of their patterns myself. Happy Sewing.

Sewaholic Cambie

To continue my Sewaholic spree, I made another Cambie. My last Cambie was gorgeous, but I made it with rayon thread, which breaks when you look at it. I found this lightweight cotton at a discount store and I fell in love with the bright roses on the navy background. I lined it with some sheer striped fabric that I already had on hand, and I must say I like stripes with roses. Who knew? I bought all the fabric that was left on the bolt, so the dress is too short to wear to work but will be perfect for my cousin’s September cowboy wedding. The Sewaholic patterns spoil me because I hardly ever have to adjust them to fit. The Cambie required no alterations for a good fit. I will get a photo of it on soon, I think it is the most ME thing that I have made to date. Happy sewing.

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Dark Pearl KAL Clue 3

I have finished the sleeves on my Dark Pearl cardigan by Carol Feller. The last clue is the lace front panel. I have been knitting this almost exclusively for the past 6 weeks. Once this cardigan is done I plan on finishing everything that is on my needles, which is quite a lot! I have enough current knitting projects to last me the rest of the year.  Happy knitting.


Sewaholic Outfit

All this week I have been working with another teacher to introduce fifth grade students to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The students read a Shakespeare biography and a children’s version of Hamlet, then they wrote screenplays inspired by the play, filmed, and edited videos. Today their parents came to the screening of their ‘movies’. It was a great week, but left little time for blogging!

Last week I finished my Sewaholic Thurlow trousers and am quite happy with them. I noticed, however, in the photos today that the welt pocket lining leaves a line across my rear end, so for future pairs I will get thicker main fabric. I was also thinking about trying some patch pockets on the back next time, too.  I added my new personalized sewing tags from MommieMadeIt, and felt like a real seamstress.

Today I finished a Sewaholic Pendrell blouse in a sand colored knit from Girl Charlee. I am also very happy with this top, as I have many things that I can wear it with. It was easy to sew, but has a little drama. I just realized that my next project is another Sewaholic Cambie, I am definitely on a Sewaholic roll. Happy sewing.


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Work in Progress – Sewaholic Thurlow Trousers

This Spring, I made a test pair of Thurlow Shorts, but needed to lengthen the crotch for a better fit. I used this tutorial from A Fashionable Stitch to make the changes to the pants pattern. I don’t know why I waited so long to do it, as it only took about 5 minutes. Once that adjustment was complete, I cut out my nice pants fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics.  My next steps will be to fuse the interfacing and begin construction. I am leaving off the belt loops as I do not wear belts, but that and the crotch alteration are all the changes I will be making to this pair. Hopefully I will have some work pants to show you by next week. Happy sewing!


Maria Denmark Day to Night Drape Top in Slinky

You guys know by now my love for Maria Denmark patterns! This is my third version of the Maria Denmark Day to Night Drape Top. The fabric was an on-sale impulse buy from Gorgeous Fabrics when I purchased fabric for the (as yet unsewn) Sewaholic Thurlow trousers. This fabric is called slinky and is a thick, man-made knit. I added short sleeves from an Alabama Chanin T-shirt pattern so I could wear it to work without a jacket or cardigan. Happy sewing!

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Deer and Doe Pavot Jacket – Lace Edition

Matronly or on trend? I cannot decide if I like this lace version of the Deer and Doe Pavot Jacket.  Of course, I love the pattern, but in gray lace it seems a little mother of the bride to me. And I have not nailed down the fit of this jacket yet. In this version I raised the waistline by one inch (2.5 cm) and I used French seams on all of the seams except for the sleeves since it was a sheer fabric. I also omitted the facing pieces for the button band, instead encasing the raw front edges in grosgrain and petersham ribbon from ClassicDesignShoppe. The silver buttons I bought in April at a local historical reenactment. They are heavy, beautiful, and were a fantastic price. The sleeve seams sit about two inches (5 cm) below my actual shoulders, so that needs to be worked out in my next version of this jacket. When I get the fit perfect, I will do this up in a nice navy wool and keep it forever. Deer and Doe patterns are wardrobe staples and deserve to be perfected. Happy sewing!

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Dark Pearl KAL Clue #2 Finished

Carol Feller’s 150th knitting pattern, Dark Pearl, is a very quick knit. I have never knit the body of a cardigan in two weeks! The yarn is Sea Pearl by Briar Rose Fibers and is wool and tencel. I am loving this yarn and pattern together. The tencel makes the yarn shimmer. It is hard to tell in the photographs, but it is a silvery gray color with shots of light blue and brown. The next clue will either be the sleeves or the lace panel. I think I can finish either one in two weeks. Happy knitting!

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