When a Review is not a Review

Whenever I’m going to buy something, I like to look at the reviews of the product online first to see what people are saying about it. In general, I think word of mouth is pretty valuable because it’s usually someone’s actual opinion based on their experience, as opposed to hype or advertising from the company that made the item.

Traditionally, a product review is something the product’s creator never pays for (other than the cost of the review copy and shipping); in addition, it’s bad form to ask for a good review. The whole point is for the reviewer to give an unbiased opinion. Obviously, if the review copy were to arrive with a check payable to the reviewer, the review would be biased.

We started Cardamom Publishers, our homeschool publishing business, in 2003, and we’ve never paid for a review or asked for a good review. We just send out review copies and wait. We’ve been gratified to receive good reviews, and we want homeschooling parents to know that those reviews are unbiased.

There are many good homeschool websites and magazines that offer unbiased reviews. But apparently there are others who require creators to pay for something they call a product review, but which is actually an advertisement. I recently received an email from one such site, howtohomeschool.net. They’ve offered to review our products. Here are the details:

Removed at the request of the writer 7/11/17

There’s nothing wrong with advertising, but to claim that a paid ad is a product review is dishonest. Homeschooling parents love hearing the opinions of other parents about homeschool products; I valued that input when I homeschooled my four kids. But there’s a huge difference between an unbiased opinion and a paid ad, and I don’t think it’s fair to imply that there isn’t one, especially when your intended audience is made up of very busy homeschooling parents who have enough to do without trying to figure out when they’re being misled.

 

Our Endless Summer Quilt

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It all started when Hancock’s of Paducah put some charm packs on sale for $5 each. How could I pass that up when the fabric line, Saturday Morning by Basic Grey for Moda, was so cute? They weren’t the type of fabrics I would usually buy, but one design in particular, the lines of people, caught my eye. So I bought five charm packs.

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I started designing a quilt requiring over 200 5″ squares, and soon realized I was going to need a solid fabric to balance the wide variety of prints. Luckily H of P had an off-white grunge print from the line on sale, so I bought a few yards. Then I saw the Moda Love pattern on Pinterest and decided it would be perfect for the center of my quilt.

The quilt would be quite large, maybe bigger than any quilt I’d ever made. I decided it would be perfect for our bed. Wouldn’t you know, H of P put batting on sale, including an extra-light batting that I had never tried before. I bought one, figuring I could make a summer quilt. I also bought a very busy triangle print from the Saturday Morning line for the binding, and a wild streaky blue print for the borders.

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It took me a while to decide how to quilt this quilt. I decided on one design for the center, modified a flower design from Lori Kennedy’s blog for the squares, and modified another flower for the border from the same blog (she’s so talented, and has some awesome tutorials on her blog). Here’s the back of the quilt where the squares are:

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I named this the “Endless Summer Quilt” because my husband and I fell in love one summer over 40 years ago and married three years later; in the summer, of course. I hope we use this summer quilt for many, many years to come.

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My Simply Eclectic Quilt

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I’ve never made a quilt exactly like the pattern before. I might use a pattern with scraps, or with precuts, or with yardage I bought specifically for that pattern. But when I discovered the pattern for Simply Eclectic, I had to have that quilt just as the designer intended it to look, which meant buying the exact fabrics she used (which she also designed).

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Fortunately, the lovely indigo prints were available at Hancock’s of Paducah; I found the solids at Missouri Quilt Co. I also found a gray print from the designer’s line at H of P that I used for backing.

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The only thing I did differently than the designer did was to quilt inside the solid-colored blocks, because after I finished quilting the top in straight lines, those beautiful solid squares looked like they needed something. So I echoed a few motifs from the indigo prints.

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Photos don’t do the indigo fabrics justice; they’re so lovely. This quilt now lives on the back of my recliner, where I can see and touch it every day.

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Another Argument for School Choice

Dr. Walter E. Williams has the knack of distilling an important issue down to its essence, and this article of his is a great example of that.

He’s discussing school choice, and why government should not be involved in the allocation of funds to education. He makes it so easy to understand; can you tell I’m a big fan of his work?