April 2005

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The Ami Simms Newsletter
April 2005
Copyright by Ami Simms

(AOL-users, please see end of newsletter for hyper-links.)

Well, they’ve done something. Yahoo has a whole new look to it. If all you ever get are my newsletters delivered right to your mailbox, don’t worry, you probably won’t notice a thing. However, from this end, the interface looks a lot different. In addition to the new large blue font, 3,000 more subscribers have just APPEARED! I’m hoping you all want to be here. If Yahoo added 3,000 of you from the Underwater Lawn Bowling Group, my apologies. Please see the removal instructions at the very end and then be very patient. If we have to delete that many of you, it might take a while. Sure you don’t want to take up quilting? If you want to slice fabric up into little pieces with sharp pizza-cutters just so you can sew them all back together again, you won’t be alone. At least 16,118 other people are reading this with you and welcome you with dancing thimbles. Don’t worry. None of them will write to you except me. (Well, maybe that IS cause for worry.)

I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate whoever invented the shower. Very clever; you get an A+. Baths are nice for a good soak (quilter or quilt) but give me a shower every time. A hot bath makes me comatose in about two minutes—a fine way to end the day, but not to start one---especially if the lip of the tub isn't sufficiently angled to keep my head from sliding below the water level. Showers, long and hot, get me going in the morning. I soap up, plan the day, and occasionally find solutions to great problems (such as what to write in the newsletter).

As a traveling quilter for the past two decades, I figure I’ve showered in over 200 different hotel showers. Most of them are just fine and lots are better than what we have at home. But in case you’re about to build a hotel I might stay in, here are some suggestions:

1. Bathrooms with tile floors heated to anything less than "toasty warm," are cruel and unusual punishment. For goodness sake, stick a heat vent or two in there. If that’s not possible, how about a bath mat bigger (and fatter) than a postage stamp?

2. At least one of those big light bulbs restaurants use to keep the French fries warm would be mighty nice.

3. While you’re installing lights aim one into the shower. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled a heavy rubber shower curtain closed behind me and had my very own, very moist, darkroom.

4. Shower controls should be standardized throughout the entire known world. Please. I don’t care how pretty the fixture is when I can’t figure out how to get the water to come out of it. If you can’t resist, at least print operating instructions for deviate plumbing in 3" high lettering inside the shower where I can actually read them without my glasses.

5. Note: I also dislike shower/bath combination fixtures that do not properly return to "bath" mode when they’re shut off so they squirt me in the head with cold water when I bend over to turn on the water for my shower.

6. Hot and Cold water knobs installed by dyslexic plumbers that require me to turn knobs in the opposite direction to which I am accustomed make me wonder what else in the hotel was installed incorrectly, like the steel girders holding the fourth floor above the third floor. I’m just silly that way.

7. No, I don’t mind taking a straight pin into the shower with me to unplug the holes where water should be shooting out but isn’t. Yeah right. Can you invent something for that?

8. I am totally unimpressed with fancy nozzles. I don’t care if the water pulses, jets, streams, throbs, sprinkles, mists, gushes, or pushes me to the other side of the tub as long as I can adjust it to mimic my own $4.95 shower head at home that, well, just showers.

9. It is no fun if the highest I can aim the shower nozzle is at my throat. I shouldn’t have to hold a deep knee bend in order to shampoo.

10. I don’t understand plumbing, but is it necessary for my water to change temperature when the toilet flushes two floors up? Just curious.

11. And what about the soap dishes? I know they have to be angled so the water drains, but what’s the point if the soap and the little bottle of shampoo fall out? Is that because they’re always in the direct path of the water?

12. And finally, I’m all for keeping the shower curtain inside the tub with me, but I object when it tries to wrap me up like a giant burrito.

Thankfully, scientists are already addressing the problem of extra friendly shower curtains. David Schmidt, assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts, says it has something to do with a combination of forces, namely: a never-ending vortex fed by the constant stream of water; buoyancy (heated air inside the shower rises sucking in lower, cooler air underneath the curtain); and the Bernoulli effect, which sounds very cool, but sadly I have no idea what it might be. (Please don’t tell me, either. If you do, I could forget how to bind a quilt or use my stupid hand to rotary cut. My brain can only hold so much information before data starts oozing out my left ear.) You can bone up on shower curtain migration by reading about this phenomenon, at:

The one thing Professor Schmidt did not explain however was the “gick” factor. That is, the gickier the shower curtain (mold, mildew, unidentifiable stains, rips, slippery stuff, etc), the more it wants to hug the shower’s occupant.

These just keep coming…

Kitty Kontak shares the name of her husband’s nephew, a pilot in the Air Force: Roger Kontak.

Cyndee D. knows of a chiropractor named Dr Bjerke. (It’s pronounced “jerk” as both the B and E are silent.) Myrna W. says when she lived in Huntsville, AL her veterinarian’s name was Dr. Pettus. The dentist’s name was Dr. Pullen. (This is Martha Pullen’s husband, by the way.)

Trish M. says her oral surgeon was Dr. Payne Hardison (emphasis on the first name here).

She’s done it again. There are 16 toe-tapping ditties just for quilters on this, her third music CD. Enjoy:

My grammar-checker went nuts with that one. If something is already the worst, you can’t have something MORE worst. Trust me, you can. I just put up seven more contest entries from the Worst Quilt In the World Contest ®. See:

Scroll down, as they are now living below the 22 that were there originally. I apologize for taking several years to do this update, but it is hard work concentrating on that much ugly for that long. Another couple of years and I might put some more up on the web page. But, meanwhile, remember, the contest is over. You can’t win, no matter how bad your quilt is. You may share a quilt you have made in the Worst Quilt Wannabe section, but no prizes will be awarded. The judges have gone home and moved on with their lives. Most of them are still in therapy, but the healing has begun.

Have you ever taken a workshop from me? If so, author Meg Cox is collecting material for a book tentatively titled, “The Quilter’s Catalog.” She is including ME in a chapter on the country’s top quilting teachers! (See, the bribes are starting to pay off.) She is looking for former students of mine to share a comment about their experiences as a student in my workshop(s), specifically relating to teaching style, what you might have learned that you felt was valuable, and/or if anything I said or shared may have influenced your quilting. She may also want to know if my socks matched. If your comments are selected for publication, Meg will publish the following information about you in her book: your full name, the town in which you live, and the location of the class you took. Please send your comments about any workshop(s) you took with me to Meg Cox at megmaxc@aol.com. (And if you send a copy to me I'll print them off and hang them on the refrigerator here at home.)

Want to take a workshop with me? I’ll be visiting the Detroit Metro Quilt Guild on April 19th (lecture) and April 20th (workshop). May is filled with family stuff, but June will put me in TX with the New Braunfels Area Quilting Guild. I understand there are a few workshop openings in Michigan and Texas. For details see

If you are hosting me in the near future, please also see What To Expect:

There are only three Bikini Quilt Starter Fabric Kits left, before we’re out of some of the fabric. To reward you for getting there first, you get $1 off the price. Bikini Quilt patterns have also been reduced in price as have the Electric Pizza Heating Pad Cover and the Amazing Flying Pizza (patterns AND kits). It’s springtime, after all. Go throw a fabric pizza around the backyard, then rest those sore muscles with a little heat therapy. What to just laugh? The Sinking Sailboat pattern price is on sale right now too.

Bikini Quilt Starter Fabric Kit: http://www.amisimms.com/biqustfakit.html

Bikini Quilt Pattern: http://www.amisimms.com/bikiniquilt1.html

Electric Pizza Heating Pad Cover: http://www.amisimms.com/elpipa.html

Amazing Flying Pizza: http://www.amisimms.com/flyingpizza.html

Sinking Sailboat:

Ami’s Mommy’s Fabric is also on sale:

Sue Carmichael has the perfect answer: QUILT CARDS! What’s the question? How does one tactfully inform the recipient of a quilt of the value of their gift? Remember my ramblings last month about how some people just don’t get it? Well Quilt Cards do the job. Each card (graduation, baby, wedding, birthday, Christmas, Other) has “The Anatomy of a Quilt” printed on the inside cover. It tells how a quilt is made, defines some quilting jargon, gives care instructions, and, best of all, educates the clueless non-quilter as to how precious their gift is. Greetings are printed inside, but you can personalize the cards with fabric or a photograph of the finished quilt. Cards are professionally done, reasonably priced, and offer an alternative to smacking someone upside the head. Order yours from Sue at:

Following up with the other side of the coin, Lynda P. from Maple Valley, WA shares a quilt gifting story of the wonderful variety:

“My best quilt giving story was a quilt I made for a lady I worked with in celebration of her retirement. I really cut it close—her last day I set my alarm two hours early to finish stitching down the binding. Then I discovered I had nothing suitable to wrap it in. I decided to take it to the office in my "Love Those Fat Quarters" tote bag. I often bring projects I'm working in to the office so everyone can admire them and fuss over my creative talents, LOL. So I gather everyone around, haul it out of the bag like it's just another project. Marian (the lady it was for) was especially taken with it. I put my arm around her and said "I'm so glad you like it, because it's yours!" She burst into tears and within seconds there wasn’t a dry eye in the group! Worked out much better than wrapping the darn thing!”

Here is another quilt-giving story with a great ending from ShJuanda S. who writes: “My local quilt shop was giving a class on the delectable mountains quilt and it was being taught by the shop owner, Betty Sak. I decided I would take the class and make my favorite sister-in-law a quilt. Purple is her favorite color so I picked out a pansy print and used molted Modas to compliment it. We were told that the center block could be whatever we wanted it to be and since her 10th wedding anniversary was coming up the following year I used a Celtic love knot. Well I couldn't keep it to myself I broke down and showed her the top when it was done. She was so excited about the quilt I couldn't stand holding on to it for the next year. I gave it to her at Christmas. She then changed the colors of her bedroom from burgundy and hunter green to purple and green. Sheets, lamps, dresser scarf. You name it and she changed it. I have been told if anyone comes to her house that is one the first things she shows them is her purple quilt.”

Thanks to Barb Vlack for this little tease. It’s all we get until the designer finds a manufacturer. Meanwhile, dream on:

Special thanks to Judy A. who donated an almost brand new sewing machine (plus Sew Steady Portable Table) to St. Luke’s N.E.W. Center. Way to go, Judy!! We also got in some donations of thread and rotary cutters. Thank you so much. Let me know if you have any leftover rulers, thread, fabric, scissors, etc. that need a great home.

Joyce wonders what they were thinking in Arizona:

Teri writes: “I was enjoying looking at all the pictures in your “What were they thinking section.” I couldn't quite tell what the picture was on one particular page, so I placed the curser over the picture to get a closer look. My curser says "Click to enlarge." Irony!” To see what’s now doubly funny, click

Bonnie wonders about a fishy road sign:

Thanks for Sandy K. for finding this funny guy. Not sure I want a colo-rectal surgeon with a sense of humor. OK, maybe that would help. In any case, check out his web site so you can listen to the “Colo-Rectal Surgeon Song.” It’s worth the trip to:

Sandy K. also recommends this web presentation. Fire up your window’s media player and have at it. Click:

Want to support the troops but didn’t know quite what to do? Here’s a list of items you could send to boost morale from Captain Kincy Clark, son of quilter Rachel Clark. Kincy has been stationed in Iraq since January. He’s also writing a blog. I’ve never read a blog before, and I know nothing about soldiering, but now I know why Rachel is so very proud of her son.

Visit Rachel’s web page at: What to send the troops: Read Kincy’s blog:

After you go shopping, head over to the post office and pick up a free PRIORITY FLAT RATE box --- just $7.70 no matter what it weighs. Stuff it, and dump it back at the post office since most likely it will weigh more than a pound and a postal employee must accept the box from you personally. Do the happy dance.

Please do. Forward the ENTIRE thing to all your friends and even some of your enemies. Everybody enjoys a laugh or two. Please do NOT forward just part of it. Somehow my name gets dropped off when these things float through cyberspace and since I’m writing them for free, I should at least get credit for writing them. If you write a guild newsletter (real paper or online) and would like to “reprint” a particular part of the newsletter you must ask first. Here’s how:

Be good to each other and have a great quilting day! (Or several!)

Ami Simms www.AmiSimms.com AmiSimms@aol.com

AOL HYPERLINKS Shower Curtain Migration
Cathy Miller’s New CD
More WORST Quilts
Ami’s Teaching Schedule
What To Expect
Bikini Quilt Starter Fabric Kit
Bikini Quilt Pattern
Electric Pizza
Amazing Flying Pizza
Sinking sailboat Ami’s Mommy’s Fabric Sale Quit Cards
Slick Sewing Machine
What Were They Thinking
Click to Enlarge
Fishy Road Sign
Colo-Rectal Song
Amazing Website
Web Presentation
Rachel Clark’s Website
What to Send the Troops
Kincy’s Blog
Permission to Reprint

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