Measuring Quality in the Magic Bookshelf - Rating and Reviewing Products

Worth Waiting For? 

Well, so much for posting every week to this blog! I hope you'll allow me to claim vicarious blogging as an excuse -- lots of my time lately has gone into getting our two new guest bloggers (and a few more who you don't know about yet) up and running. Cathy's and Pat's posts get more comments than mine ever do, so I figure it's a fair trade of my time to do everything I can to put two such wonderful ladies on the site, even if it means neglecting my own little corner here. To those of you who've been waiting so long for this post, you'll Toronto Skylineforgive me, right?

AnnTheGran in Toronto

I'm very excited to be helping to host Ann's visit to Toronto this coming week (she blogs about it here). Apparently, the barbeque I'm hosting for Ann, Loes, and their significant others is now being called an "event" in itself, so I guess I'd better cook up something extra special. I was hoping to even have the pool open, but with temperatures here hovering around 10 C (50 F), that doesn't look too likely, although I am heartened to know that the weather for barbeque day is forecast closer to 20 C (70 F).

Ties That Bind

For those of you who don't know, (the site, not the lady) is brought to you by a very special group of people from literally all over the place. I'm in Toronto, Ann's in Orlando, Diane's in St. Louis, and that's just for starters -- the extended team that we rely on to bring you all this extends even to other continents. The reason I mention this is to show you that we practice what we preach. Though there is certainly no substitute for sitting across from another special person in the same room, as we did at Community Circle in Orlando, it never ceases to amaze me how closely we can approximate that feeling of cameraderie and those shared moments within the right online environment. Just as our own community of creative people interacts in meaningful ways even though we are separated by distance, so too does the wider community of creative people that meets here on Ann's site.

Straight From the Horse's Mouth...

In my last post, I talked about the use of tags to help us find what we are looking for, and I gave an example of how tags could also be used to find out information about products out Five Star Rating Systemthere in the market. Of course, we know that for that information to have any value, to be quality information, it has to come from the people who actually use the products and it has to be unbiased. If you do any amount of online shopping, you'll know that there are many product rating features on sites (usually a five-star system) used to determine the quality of products. This is okay, and definitely helps you decide if you're looking at buying something, but we wanted more than that. We think that, when deciding whether or not to buy a product, you need more than a star system -- you want pictures, ideas, and problems from someone who is actually using the product.

Help Us Help You

That's what we want, too, but we need your help with that. If you use and feel strongly (positively or negatively) about any product that you use to create your beautiful things, we'd love it if you'd share that with us. We even have a dedicated place to do it -- a forum called Reviews, Testimonials & Critiques. (Kudos to one of our superhero users Judy for showing other users the way on using this forum). You can help us and your creative kindred spirits by clicking on the link to this forum and posting your thoughts on any product you use. If you don't find a discussion already taking place about the product on which you want to comment, start a new discussion by clicking 'Write a New Post'.

Tearful (?) Challenge

To that end, I issue a challenge. My goal is to receive at least 20 product reviews/testimonials/critiques before my next post on this blog. If I don't reach that goal, if I don't see at least 20 new entries, I will not write my next post. So, in other words, I will take that as a sign that you do not want me to post and I will likely want to crawl under my desk and sob uncontrollably [:'(]. Okay, maybe not, but I will be sobbing inside...

So if you want more Magic Bookshelf, get busy and post in Reviews, Testimonials & Critiques. If you don't want to hear from me again, just do nothing.


Comments (17) -

jalcumbrack 5/23/2008 6:04:11 PM

Thanks BB ! I left a new one in there for you so you don't get lonely. We really do want you to stay !

travelbug1237 5/24/2008 10:20:22 AM

Greg, we LOVE what you do for us!!!! ( and for me personally I can attest to how much you are appreciated!!!)

Seriously folks, Greg has literally been spending EEEE gobs of time

helping me learn to 'write a blog' and he is the one who gets all the credit

for the sub titles etc. Last week, picture this....I am sitting at an Apple

store with my tutor for lesson- ....with my cell phone and Greg on the other end in Canada!!! For nearly an hour the 3 of us are communicating in order to get my 2nd blog out!!!!

   It turns out that I should have been using a "Fire something

instead of my Safari.....

  So Greg (BB) know that there are a lot of us who appreciate your time,energy and skills!!!!

  OK.  ME'ers entry is the 2nd one so you only have 18 to go to know that you are truly loved and appreciated!!! Come on folks lets hear it for Greg!!!

Greg,  Can we champion an effort to get all of the quilt shops, fabric stores, high tech sewing stores to join an e-directory so when we fanatics travel, we don't miss the opportunity to stop at their stores?  I don't want to lug around a paper directory (or several).  I want to be able to query a geographical location and visit the stores while I'm in their area.  I'll gladly volunteer someof my time to put together this directory if you think it is a good idea.

Jerry Reese (in Iowa)

West Side Digital Designs

robbiefour2 5/24/2008 12:54:28 PM


I enjoyed reading all of the posts and just hope that I can retain at least some of the information given. Thanks a bunch,   Fern

This is number six. No earth shattering comments, but you do get read.  The idea on the quilt store or embroidery supply list was good. Thank you for all the free designs. They are tremendous, and as a flying enthusiast, I especially appreciate the Piper Archer II. That and the paper airplane  pattern now graces my  flying shirt. These are very hard for find in the "real world" and I have not yet been able to digitize something appropriate.

Hi,  Would you like some crackers and cheese with that whine?

No seriously, I for one enjoy your posts.  Don't give us and stay away from that desk..

Nancy from Alford, FL USA  

One of my best girlfriends lives in London, ont

Don't leave! I'm just getting introduced to the site & you have a lot of good information.

Just from this blog, I'm surprised to find out that Diane is just across the river from me in St. Louis. And I love to see whose all blogging . . .  

I commend "robbiefour2" for getting on the computer at age 84!!! You go girl!

Thanks, everyone. I too am humbled by robbiefour2. So many in my circle take the ease of technology for granted but we often forget that not everyone lives and breathes this stuff. I hope that in the unlikely event that I get to 84, I'm that open to new things.

TravelBug1237 - Thanks for sharing the Apple story with the community. That was a first for me as well!

JerryReese, I think that is a fantastic idea about the directory. Leave that with me for a few days and I will contact you to discuss how we can make that happen.

phoebean03, I'm not sure exactly what would have been the best accompaniment, but what I do not like with my whine is fish -- as in fishing for compliments. Nice comments are always appreciated (thanks to my loyal readers, esp. Judy), but I measure the success of this blog by results, which means by the number of people on our site who are commenting, tagging, posting, setting up avatars, and generally interacting in our Community. With that in mind, posts in the Reviews section are now at around 15 since I issued the challenge, and it's only the first day, so it seems likely that more will be heard from this corner.

Dear Greg,

I must say this is just about the nicest site around! I have been to many, many, and they just don't compare to this one. Keep up the great efforts and that will keep alot of us happy and very informed. When I am happy and informed I like to buy!!! I think the web directory is another wonderful idea! Thanks for all the good work you do!


Gee, Greg, when you put up a challenge, you don't mess around!

I enjoy reading your tips and tricks because, basically, I am lazy.  Necessity may be the mother of invention, but laziness is the father!!!  LOL  Calm down all you fathers, I am just kidding.

I have been hanging around the 'reviews' area and am always interested in honest opinions on the "latest and greatest" widgets.  

I was just in Critiques and there is an interesting discussion (Me and one other, LOL) regarding the Maderia Thread Chest.  I have to put that on my wish list and tell my children about it!

I just started looking at the site, since the new and improvements have been made, I,m from the beginning days.

Really like the tips and info, so keep them coming.  Thanks for the hard work, but, work is fun if you are working your passion!!

jalcumbrack 5/27/2008 5:54:21 AM

Hey that e-directory would be great for us fabric and embroidery nuts! That is usually the first place I look for when I am on vacation. Different parts of the country have different types and kinds of fabric,so it is always interesting to me to see what is out there.(yes I have lots of fabric,Lol)

Thanks Greg for the nice comments(blush).

You go robbiefour2..........I just hope I make it to 84 let alone knowing how to do anything else LOL.

Pat ,put everything on your wish list,then send your kids a copy ! I do in hopes hubby will see it and feel sorry for me LOL.

I am new to ME having just purchased a Viking Scandinavia 300.  In fact I am going to the dealer's shop this aftn for an informational lesson. So much to learn! It's almost overwhelming. I do love to sew & am always trying something new. Stumbled across this site & am very glad I did! So much helpful info! Now I just need more time in the day!

jalcumbrack 5/28/2008 6:46:21 PM

Ladybug51 ,Welcome to the wonderful ,crazy world of ME !Yes Ann's site is amazing ! I haven't seen anything like it on the web any where. It is informational,fun,friendly and inviting.Very comfortable place indeed.Kind of feels like home.........sort of.The main thing to remember is that you are doing this for fun and enjoyment,so just take your time and take a breath.Now relax and sit down with your machine and get familiar with what it does and what it can do.One thing at a time.Do some of the preloaded test sewouts so you can see what it does and gives you a sense that you have accomplished something for the day.Mainly,remember you are doing this for FUN. I can not stress that enough.It is easy to get caught up in the well Suzy wants that on this and herb wants this on the hat and so on.Just have fun with it !

Also take a look at Cathys Blog on here,Crash Course Cathy.It is about her adventures in machine embroidery and her take on it as she is also just getting started.She is fun and full of life ,she tells everyone how she is doing and how much she is learning. you will have fun with her,I am sure of that.

Now about extending time in the day ,when you figure that one out ,call me,ok? I've been trying to figure that one out for a long ,long time.

Take care and see you soon again !

Under your desk?  Now that would be an interesting (not to mention an amusing) sight to see.  Hope you'll stick around, and continue to "edjumakate" us newbies, Greg.  Anyone who calls me from Canada to make sure I have my "stuff" and refunds the shipping is ok in my book.  Smile


I am new to the embroidery world.  I signed up to take a class to teach me the first steps in the embroidery world and found that I had to bring 4 finished embroideries.  I did not because I really didn' know where to begin.  I spent my time while all the other seasoned embroidery people did their project and me.....I just worked on embroidering a piece wortth looking at.  But I was so excited with what I did do that I showed it to eveyone and now I have completed my first project and I love it.  

I have a Janomi 9500.  Does anyone use this machine.  As I am getting to know how to use it, I find it is really easy to use.  Does anyone have a comment ?

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