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October 15 2017

Early Education for Young Dual-Language Learners Weak in Many States, Report Finds

The dual-language-learner population in the United States has grown by about 24 percent since 2000, and now represents about 32 percent of children ages 8 and younger.

Comment on baked tomato sauce by Pego

I think I’d like to strain the skins out with a foley mill before adding the cheese, etc.

Iceland meets Kyoto

This was a fun wee project! Contrado, a London-based print on demand factory which I visited a while back, recently gave me some budget to make a new pattern and have it printed on whatever fabric I liked. Luckily I’d just returned from a quick holiday to Iceland, and being up on a glacier really reminded me of fabric prints Liberty’s Manning springs to mind, which was literally also inspired by glacial landscapes. Here I am on said glacier and some of the pictures I took which acted as print-spiration:

I followed this tutorial to create a repeat pattern from one of my photos, and the file below is the one I entered into Contrado’s online tool, from which you can set up scale and repeat styles.

I chose the Vintage loop-back sweatshirt fabric, a cosy and stable knit with an off-white base, a poly front side and cotton looped back. I was super pleased when I received the fabric a week or so later, it looks just how I imagined it and apart from a slight chemical smell that dispersed in the pre-wash you’d think it was any regular printed fabric.

I sewed it up into a Papercut Kyoto sweater, minus the cute sleeve ruffles, as I thought a simple sweatshirt would show off the print the best, and I only had 1.5m to play with.

Not a lot to say about the construction, it was super easy and the only fitting amend I made was to shorten the body and sleeves by a couple of inches each. This sort of drop-shoulder style isn’t really the most flattering on me to be honest, but for a cosy sweatshirt I don’t really care!

The fabrics I had printed through Contrado over a year ago are still holding up super well with repeated washing, by the way I still wear my emoji Inari and Olivia dress a lot, so I was pleased to have the opportunity to get some more made, and end up with a cool wearable holiday souvenir. Thanks Contrado!

October 08 2017

Comment on cheesecake bars with all the berries by jglick12

How do you adjust baking time when halving the recipe?

Comment on lamb meatballs with feta and lemon by Amy

I followed your recipe exactly and this is hands down one of the best things I've ever made. Thank you for a new SK favorite in my house!

September 17 2017

Bamboo Sahara

I’m a bit late for the Sewcialists’ Tribute Month, but this garment was very much inspired by Shauni of The Magnificent Thread! It’s a Ralph Pink Sahara shirt; Shauni has made two beautiful versions and slowly coached me into buying the PDF.

This was my first time sewing a Ralph Pink pattern, and it was a largely positive experience. The PDF layout is a little different to usual but once I figured out which markings to match it went together easily. The instructions are well illustrated but a little brief in places so a beginner may struggle, but this pattern is fairly standard shirt dress construction so I found it fine.

The Sahara is obviously very oversized so I cut a size small without toiling and I’m pretty pleased with the fit. The only adjustment I did make was to take an inch off the hem length and slightly level off the dipped hem in the back. I did notice that my side seams are buckling a bit; I’m not sure if I got something a bit off-grain or the slightly bulky seams under the arms are causing it to drag a bit.

Collar open I think I prefer it fully done up.

Having not sewn for a while I went to town with the finishing and used a mix of French and flat-felled seams throughout: no overlocking in sight. I also topstitched along the main seamlines to bring out the cool curved yokes on the front and back. Even so, I got the whole dress finished in a day of fairly leisurely sewing, buttonholes and all (I’m that weird sewist who actually enjoys sewing buttonholes)

I especially adore the fabric I used which was a perfect match for the pattern: it’s an organic woven bamboo from Ray Stitch. I’ve never seen woven bamboo fabric before but it has the same silky smooth hand and soft drape of bamboo knits and was a dream to work with, taking a press beautifully and easy to manipulate around the curved hem yet still pretty stable so easy to handle. It has an almost sanded/peached finish and doesn’t seem to crease too badly. I used a size 60 microtex needle to make sure it didn’t snag. I might buy up some more of this fabric in white and try dyeing it as it’s basically dream dress fabric.

I feel rather like a fashionable bat wearing this, and I’m pretty into it! Needless to say, it’s insanely comfortable and being basic black it’s going to get a ton of wear. Much as it pains me to consider autumn weather, I feel like this’ll work great with tights and boots as the temperature dips. I feel like it’d work well worn open as an overshirt too. I’ve just got a new job after a summer contracting and having some delicious time off, so it’ll be great for work too.

More Saharas: Self-Assembly Required, Paprika Patterns, Frock and Sew, and of course thanks again to Shauni for the main inspiration!

P.S. If you’re reading in a reader, I gave my blog a bit of a fresh look click on over to have a look!

P.P.S. If you’re not on Instagram, you may have missed that I was a guest on Helen and Caroline’s excellent new podcast, Love to Sew, talking about my sewing and blogging journey. You can find my episode here or on all podcast apps.

September 10 2017

Comment on corn chowder with chile, lime and cotija by WendyH

My husband and 8 year old loved this as did I. (Left out the jalapeo for the little one.) Loved having enough for leftovers this week as well as putting some extra away in the freezer for later in the fall. We had white corn from our neighbor’s garden so our chowder came out beigy as some other folks mentioned might happen. But we didn’t mind. Also, am thinking I should have pured the corn more thoroughly, as the half-pured corn didn’t blend quite perfectly with the broth. One of the other comments noted this as well. Still, delicious and swoon-worthy. A fabulous keeper of a recipe!

Comment on smitten kitchen every day trailer + book tour! by cheril

The video is so cute. I can't wait for the new book.

September 03 2017

By: sarina

The top list. Hope you will add & my site to the list . is very good.

August 27 2017

August 13 2017

Back-to-School Reading for English-Language-Learner Teachers

From reports about efforts to create quality learning materials for ELLs to tips on how to help students develop literacy skills, here are some stories that caught our eye this month.

July 02 2017

Mitchell Chester, State's Education Commissioner, Dies at 65 - Education Week

Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester has died.

Comment on cherry clafoutis by Emily

I love your blog but I have to say that I personally did not like this. It wasn't like custard it was very eggy. Like having a fruity omelet. I've never had traditional clafoutis so maybe I will try one of the more traditional recipes next time and see if I like it more.

June 25 2017

Comment on easy drop berry shortcakes by Molly

I just made these and they were a hit! Barely used any sugar with the strawberries, added vanilla bean paste to the cream, and had to use granulated sugar for the shortcakes, but they were amazing! I found the biscuits perfectly sweet and everything. THANK YOU DEB!

June 18 2017

Comment on easy drop berry shortcakes by C.P.

We made it tonight and absolutely LOVED IT! The person I ate it with (who hates shortcake and generally every dessert that isn't chocolate) couldn't stop complimenting the biscuit. It's just. so, so, so good.

Thanks for another winning recipe, Deb! (Though I feel like that's cheating a bit, since I can't remember the last time I used a recipe from this site that *wasn't* a winner. You are so talented!)

Comment on scalloped tomatoes with croutons by Eve

I made this for a community pot luck dinner last night and it was devoured! I doubled the recipe and used a 9 x 13 glass pan. Can't wait to try it with fresh summer tomatoes.

Comment on zucchini bread by Katie

Do you have a suggestion on how to make this into a Lemon Zucchini recipe? I always find it tricky adding lemon to a recipe because just zest won’t do it, additional liquid is problematic, accounting for the acid and baking soda interactions gives me headache, and lemon extract can come out too artificial. Any help is appreciated! :)

June 11 2017

June 04 2017

Comment on strawberry graham icebox cake by Meredith

I’ve made it both ways (depending on availability) and the Seville was better, but I tend to prefer a less-sweet cake (so do Germans, they make cheesecake with half the sugar)

May 28 2017

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