Friday, February 19, 2010

Quilting - How To Make An Amish-Style Traditional Rag Quilt

When it comes to quilting, one of the easiest quilts to make is a Rag-Style Cotton Quilt. Unlike traditional quilting, these type of quilts are quilted as you make them and they have exposed outer seams which you snip after you are done sewing them to make it fringe. After laundering, it rags which leads to your quilts country charm.

For this particular quilt, I chose to work in traditional Amish colored scheme with solid black fabric along with solid colored fabric. All of the fabrics used are cotton as they rag and fray the best. You don't want to use polyester or nylon-blend type of fabrics in these type of quilts.

Supplies Needed:

Approximately 7-8 Yards of Cotton Fabrics
2 Packages Warm and Natural Cotton Batting
Fiskars (tm) Rag Quilt Snipping Scissors
Sewing Machine and Basic Sewing Supplies
Rotary Cutter, Mat and Ruler

Seam Allowances: I used a 3/4" seam allowance while making this rag quilt.

Finished Throw Quilt Size: 15 rows by 19 rows. (In other words, I have 15 squares in my horizontal rows and 19 squares in my longitude rows).

Preparation: Wash and dry your fabrics before starting. If necessary, iron them if they become wrinkled.

Cutting Fabric: I cut my fabric down to 4" sized squares using my rotary cutter. Try to make the squares an accurate 4" in size. You will need a total of 570 squares which will make 285 blocks. (2 fabric squares make up 1 block).

Cutting The Cotton Batting: You need your batting squares to be smaller than your fabric squares, mine measure 3" square. You will need one batting square for each fabric square so you need a total of 285 cotton batting squares.

Step 1: You need to make your fabric squares by layering a piece of cotton batting between to fabric squares. The right side of your fabric will be facing out and the batting will be inside. Use your sewing machine and sew an X through each square. You do this by going from the top left corner and down to the bottom right corner. Then flip your square and do the other side. It should resemble an X pattern on the center of your square. I leave 3/4" of an inch un-sewn at each corner. You will do this for all 285 squares.

Step 2: Clear off a large table or use a clean floor. Lay out all of your sewn fabric squares in a pattern or design that you like. For the pattern that I chose, I alternated between black and a colored square. (see photo)

Step 3: Using a 3/4" seam allowance, so your squares together in horizontal rows.

Step 4: Using a 3/4" seam allowance, sew all of your horizontal rows together. As your quilt increases in size, it becomes a little bit difficult to hold and pull through your sewing machine...if needed, work it in 3 sections and then sew the 3 sections together to make it more manageable.

Step 5: Once you have all your rows together, you will have a rectangular throw quilt. You need to load it back into your sewing machine and go around all 4 sides with a 3/4" seam allowance. Finally...all your sewing is completed.

Finishing Your Throw Quilt: To finish your rag-style throw quilt, you need to snip all of your need to be VERY careful to not snip throw any of you sewn lines/seams. If you don't own a pair of the Fiskars (tm) rag quilt snippers, I highly recommend that you get a pair as they are easier on your hands than scissors. (however, you can use regular sharp fabric scissors too). This next snipping step for will take a long time, so sit down with a cup of coffee and put a movie on. Using snippers or scissors, you need to snip/clip all of your seams to make the fringe. I like to clip mine every 1/4" and the closer together you clip them, the more your quilt will fray and rag when you launder it. You will do this on all of the seams and around the outer edges of your quilt.

Washing The Quilt: Now its time to make it all raggedy. I wash and dry mine 2 complete cycles. Put your quilt into the washer with a little laundry detergent and some fabric softener and wash it on the normal cycle. Once it is done, dry it in the dryer and then repeat the washing and drying again.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Your quilts will shed a ton of threads and lint during the washing and drying process for the first few cycles. You need to clean your lint traps frequently, especially while drying them. I set a timer and check my dryer lint trap every 10 minutes as I don't want to catch anything on fire. After they have been laundered a few times, the shedding will stop.

The more you wash and dry your raggedy quilts, the softer they will become.

Enjoy your new quilt!

Shelly Hill is a mother and grandmother living in Pennsylvania who enjoys crafting, sewing, scrapbooking and sewing. You can visit Shelly's online craft site at for free sewing and crafting project ideas. You can find step by step instructions along with photo's of the rag quilt at http://passionateaboutcrafting.blogspot ... quilt.html

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Whole Grain Awareness Challenge & Giveaway

Closed! Winner is For their Future!
Did you know that studies have found that a diet rich in whole grain can be helpful in maintaining a healthy heart, managing weight and may also reduce the risk for diabetes and certain types of cancer?

Only whole grain gives you the vital nutrients from the complete grain. In addition to fiber, whole grain contains antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients important for a healthy diet. General Mills is the only leading cereal company to guarantee whole grain in every box.** Every day, General Mills´ Big G Cereals - which include Cheerios, Fiber One, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Chex, Total and Lucky Charms - deliver 35 million servings of whole grain to Americans. General Mills makes it easy to find whole grains, just look for the white check on the top of every Big G cereal box for your whole grain guarantee.

In a national survey, 91 percent of Americans said they want to incorporate more whole grain foods into their diets. In fact, nine out of 10 people in the U.S. still do not eat the minimum recommended daily amount of whole grain (at least three servings, or 48 grams). Do you? Why not start keeping track of how many whole grains you eat to find out?

We invite you to take the Whole Grain Awareness Challenge.
Visit to put your whole grain knowledge to the test.

In addition to sharing the good news about whole grain, we´re excited to announce some more great news for cereal lovers. Just last month General Mills announced a commitment to further reduce sugar in cereals advertised to kids under 12 to single-digit grams of sugar per serving. The company has already been reducing sugar in cereals while increasing key nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, and providing whole grain.


General Mills is allowing me to offer one faithful reader a gift pack.

The winner will receive information on how Big G Cereals can help you and your family enjoy the health benefits of whole grains, an educational fact sheet and re-usable laminated tally card to track your whole grain intake, and a digital coupon to include on your site for your readers to download. Additionally, we will send you a "Grains of Goodness" prize pack that includes the following:

2 VIP coupons for Big G cereal products

A breakfast chiller

A large cereal mug

A tote bag

The information, VIP coupons and two "Grains of Goodness" prize packs (the coupons, chiller, mug, and tote bag) were all provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark

Want to win one of your own? To enter, just tell me what your favorite Big "G" cereal is!

Extra Entries (available after the mandatory entry above is completed; leave a separate comment for each entry)

Extra Entry - Follow Taking Time for Mommy on Twitter HERE
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5 Extra Entries - Signing up for our weekly Newsletter (form to the right- just leave one comment & I'll count it 5 times)

Giveaway will end on March 7th at midnight. The winner will be chosen by and announced here as well as emailed. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me or respond to notification or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway open to U.S. & Canadian residents 18+ only.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Homeschooling...Part 3

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Homeschooling. . .
. . .But Were Afraid to Ask

Part 3: What’s Your Style?

My husband and I were having dinner with a younger couple a few weeks ago, and as often happens, the topic of homeschooling came up. Their children are still pretty young, but I could tell they were curious about the possibilities.

“Do you have desks and a chalkboard? Do you have to follow the school district’s curriculum? Or do you let the kids choose what they study?”

I spent the next few minutes sketching out the wide variety of homeschooling styles.

There are as many ways to homeschool as there are reasons to do it. The spectrum ranges from school at home families to unschoolers, with many people falling in between.

Some families prefer to re-create the school environment within their homes. They will arrange desks and chairs, sometimes hang chalkboards and maps and stick to a strict schedule. I’ve known some parents who require their children to get up and dress early in the morning, put their books in backpacks, leave the house and return to ‘school’. For them, this separates the ‘home’ from the ‘school’. Many of these children use a very structured curriculum that isn’t unlike that found in public school districts.

At the opposite end of the homeschooling rainbow are the unschoolers. Families who fall into this category tend to be fairly unscheduled. The world is their schoolroom. Some unschoolers practice ‘delight led learning’, wherein the direction of study is determined by a child’s interest. For example, if my son wakes up one morning fascinated with gorillas, we might begin with a trip to the library to find books about gorillas, followed up by a visit to a local zoo. We might stay on this track of study for as long as my son is interested.

Of course, there are benefits and drawbacks to each style extreme. More structured families offer their children consistency and routine, but it’s also possible for parents and/or students to become overwhelmed or burnt out. Unschoolers tend to be more relaxed and laid back, but sometimes the kids lack the basic concepts in subjects that require more discipline.

Most homeschoolers fall somewhere between these two extremes. We might refer to ourselves as eclectic homeschoolers. In my family, for instance, we do maintain a schoolroom. It’s a book-shelf lined room that also houses our daughter’s piano and the sewing machine. We have a whiteboard hanging alongside a large computer monitor that I use when teaching certain subjects. But this room is used more as a library—the place where the schoolbooks are stored, where I keep my homeschooling materials—than it is anything else (although we do meet there at least once a week to do our French and history lessons and frequently one child or another will use it as a quiet studying spot).

Our math lessons are very structured. Math is one of those subjects where order is really required. For younger kids, we do employ ‘delight led learning’ in science; young children are endlessly inquisitive, and harnessing that curiosity can create a lifelong love of learning.

One of the wonderful aspects of homeschooling is the choice and variety each family has when planning its journey. And it’s possible that each year could be different; our style has evolved from when our kids were younger. Our goal in the early years is to inspire a will and desire to learn and give them the tools for learning. As they grow and mature, we concentrate more on specific courses of study.

If you’re just beginning your homeschooling journey, experiment! Try out some different styles. See what works best for your family and where you are in life. Remember that you can always adjust and make changes as you go along. . .flexibility is one of the hallmarks of homeschooling!

Tawdra Kandle is stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of four children who range in age from 9 years to almost 21 years. She and her husband of over 22 years live in central Florida, where he is in seminary. Tawdra spends most of her precious free time writing and reading, and she loves to travel.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rainbow Brite & Friends Review and Giveaway

Giveaway is closed. Winner is Shelly Hill! Congrats Shelly!
A blast from the past, Rainbow Brite joined with
her friends Tickled Pink, and Moon Glow are here to
bring color and happiness to RainBow Land!
Did you have a Rainbow Brite as a child?
I did, and I loved the t.v. show too. I'm happy they are back!
I received MoonGlow (the Blue one) to review. I was a little surprised how
she looked, she wasn't cute and baby like as my RainBow Brite had been. Surprisingly
enough, when I asked my daughters what they loved most about her they said, she looked like a cool big girl. So the experts have spoken!
The Rainbow Brite & her friends are now available!
which is good because my only complaint is I need to go get another one since
MoonGlow is all my girls want to play with now!
Disclaimer -I did receive this sample for free but the opinions are my own.
Want to win one of your own? To enter, just tell me your fondest memory of RainBow Bright, if you don't have one, tell me which doll you like the best. Which one of the three you get wil be a surprise!
Extra Entries (available after the mandatory entry above is completed; leave a separate comment for each entry)

Extra Entry - Follow Taking Time for Mommy on Twitter HERE
Extra Entry - Follow Taking Time for Mommy on FaceBook HERE

5 Extra Entries - Signing up for our weekly Newsletter (form to the right)
Giveaway will end on February 28th at midnight. The winner will be chosen by and announced here as well as emailed. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me or respond to notification or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway open to U.S. residents 18+ only.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Have a Little Faith - Book Review

Albom’s first nonfiction book since Tuesdays with Morrie, Have A Little Faith begins with an unusual request: an 82-year-old rabbi from Albom’s old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy.

Feeling unworthy, Albom insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into a world of faith he’d left years ago. Meanwhile, closer to his current home, Albom becomes involved with a Detroit pastor – a reformed drug dealer and convict – who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a hole in its roof.

Moving between their worlds, Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and well-to-do, Mitch observes how these very different men employ faith similarly in fighting for survival: the older, suburban rabbi, embracing it as death approaches; the younger, inner-city pastor relying on it to keep himself and his church afloat.

As America struggles with hard times and people turn more to their beliefs, Mitch and the two men of God explore issues that perplex modern man: how to endure when difficult things happen; what heaven is; intermarriage; forgiveness; doubting God; and the importance of faith in trying times. Although the texts, prayers and histories are different, Albom begins to realize a striking unity between the two worlds - and indeed, between beliefs everywhere.

In the end, as the rabbi nears death and a harsh winter threatens the pastor’s wobbly church, Albom sadly fulfills the last request and writes the eulogy. And he finally understands what both men had been teaching all along: the profound comfort of believing in something bigger than yourself.

Have a Little Faith is a book about a life’s purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man’s journey, but it is everyone’s story.
We read this for our moms' group book club &
I'm ashamed to say I was less than thrilled at first.
Mama always taught me that politics and religion have no place
in polite society but after reading the book I have to say it touched me personally.
After speaking with the other ladies about it I realized no matter how different
our religious views are, they are also much the same.
I HIGHLY recommend this book. A++
Buy it HERE



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