April 2007

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The Ami Simms Newsletter
April 2007
Copyright by Ami Simms

I'm so glad you made it to the web page. I've got some great news in this month's edition and am delighted that you came by.

Ever since the Alzheimer's quilts were first shown, the question most often asked by those who see the exhibit is, "Where can I get the book?" I am delighted to announce that it is in production now. "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece," a 112- page book featuring all the quilts of the exhibit of the same name will be available in June. All profit will be donated to Alzheimer's research. Please help us find a cure by ordering your copy now.

  • The April auction has begun! 100% of your winning bid goes to Alzheimer's research. If you're an autograph hound, have we got a Little Treasure for you! Please bid generously and bid often. Warm up your charge card and click here.
  • The tally of research dollars raised by the AAQI is $58,680 since January 2006. WOW!
  • The 1,000th Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt has just been registered. We want more quilts!
  • Sixteen people have now joined the $1,000 Promise pledged to raise $1,000 each through the sale of their Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts. Will you?
  • Your help is need to White Glove the Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece exhibit in Paducah, Denver, and Columbus. Any time you can give…
  • Flyers are needed to distribute at the exhibit in Paducah. If you can help print them and either hand deliver them or mail them to me to take, click here.
  • If you can help me by printing and passing out flyers to your guild members, click here.

I just got an email from Lisa and she has come up with a great fundraising idea. Her guild is going to do a Tour & Tea to help raise money for the quild's quilt show in 2010. (There's planning ahead for you!) Guild members will purchase tickets allowing them to tour guild member's homes to view their quilt studios. Afterwards everyone will assemble and share tea and munchies provided by the guild. Guild members will participate in a Priority Alzheimer's Quilt Challenge culminating in a display at the Tour & Tea. The P:AQs will then be donated to the AAQI to auction/sell for Alzheimer's research. Now how slick is THAT?! Thank you, Lisa, for that wonderful idea!

I'm back from across the pond. Great students, terrific food, awesome sights…did I mention they drink a lot of tea there? I'm not a coffee drinker, but I do have a cup of tea every couple of years. Heavy on the lemon and sugar. Actually, I think I have tea with my hot lemonade.

This trip I learned about Herbal Tea (Pronounce the "H" as in HERbal Tea.) There are slews of flavors: Strawberry and Mango; Raspberry, Strawberry & Loganberry; Blackcurrant, Ginseng & Vanilla, Echinacea & Raspberry; Camomile & Limeflower; Pink Grapefruit, Mandarin & Lime; Orange, Mango & Cinnamon. The colors are gorgeous (fabric dying gorgeous) and the fruity flavors almost obscure the flavor of the tea. Add sugar. (I know; I'm hopeless.)

Tea, I learned, must only be made with very, very hot water. Plop the tea bag in the cup and pour the water over the top. Let it sit and steep for a few minutes and then be careful not to burn off the tip of your tongue.

My daughter Jennie is a big tea drinker, so I brought home tea for her and for my friends—nearly 16 pounds worth. (UK currency, not US weight.) I got a box of everything they had on the shelf at the Waitrose store and packed it in my carry-on.

Sadly, on the way back to the States airport security changed the rules. I was allowed a roller bag and computer bag on the way there but only ONE BAG on the way home. (They kept this a secret until I arrived at the airport.) The ticket agent at Northwest asked if I could I put my computer bag INSIDE my roller-bag? I don't know, do I look like Houdini?

Eight hours on an airplane is not something I look forward to. That's a long time to sit and stare at the back of the seat in front of you. I bring things to pass the time: sewing, books, computer, food… And then I bring things I might need: toothbrush, wallet, pen, gum, highlighter, extra thread, dental floss, decongestant, vitamins, tissue, camera, computer cord... I also carry valuable things I don't trust to checked baggage: quilts, electronic gadgets, and 16 pounds of tea.

The Northwest agent assured me that security would boot me out of line if I showed up with two bags. I thought I'd give it a go anyway. No dice. The security team gave me the heave-ho as soon as they spotted me, so I found a secluded corner of the airport next to the information desk, spread out the contents of both bags on the floor, and made like Houdini. First I filled my coat pockets with camera, ipod, external hard drive, and two tangerines. Then I reshuffled lecture notes, sewing kit, quilts, books, and tried to jam the computer bag inside the roller-bag. Not even close. Something had to give. I couldn't even get the zipper closed when I sat on the bag.

Not to be vanquished by airport security I decided to take the tea out of the boxes. They weren't in great shape after I sat on the roller-bag anyway, so it was an easy choice. Little teabag pouches took up far less room and smelled kind of good too. I was feeling pretty smug, outwitting security. I could see myself sailing through the metal detector unchallenged, and even getting to the gate before the plane left.

After the first few boxes however, I noticed I had inadvertently bought tea in little pouches. What are THOSE for?! The pouches were very large compared to the teabags and had no strings. Moreover they were unwrapped, very "dusty," and highly aromatic. Great. The sniffer dogs were going to have a field day with me. I sincerely hoped that drugs were not transported in little pouches such as these. As it was, my quilts were going to smell like Cotton, Thread & Raspberry Mango Ginseng.

Long story short (kind of) I jammed everything in ONE bag, nearly bursting, and made it though security— except for my scissors which they wanted to inspect personally. The security person tried to cut himself with the tip of my blunt tipped Ginghers to see if they were, I don't know, DANGEROUS? (Not the sharpest crayon in the box, but he determined me to be harmless.) Once out of sight, I promptly re-shuffled everything back to its original configuration in TWO bags and nobody looked at me twice the whole trip. The assorted packaged teabags are ready to give away. The only lasting effect from the ordeal is the recipients will have to identify by aroma alone as the labels remain on the boxes I had to discard.

Please join me for a free presentation called "Quilting & Caring" on April 16th at 7pm. It will be held at The Buckingham on 8580 Woodway, off Old Farm Road at Westheimer. Please reserve a seat for yourself and a buddy by calling Amanda Schullo at 713-314-1307. If you live in the Houston area, please tell your friends, fellow guild members, and neighbors. I hope to see you there. There is no charge.

If you want to save postage, I can hand carry registered Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts home with me. (Hint, hint.) Please register them before you give them to me.

Linda Franz, inventor of Inklingo has designed a special pattern for Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts called "Ami's Sisters." (Finishes 9" x 10.5") Use it with the Inklingo Shape Collections #1 or use an old fashioned one-inch 60 degree diamond template and hand stitch. Inklingo preparation is very fast and makes it easier to stitch by machine, if desired. It also eliminates the need for special rulers, templates, or markers. Linda says, "Shape Collection # 1 makes it a very fast, precise, simple project but I think it would be okay to let bidders think it was really hard to make. :-)"

My Twisted Sisters program was selected to launch the new Kaye WoodTV.com. If I'm not playing when you tune in, go to Browse Video List and select "Twisted Sisters Quilt." Then sit back and watch for a complete demo on how to make my Twisted Sisters quilts.

I must admit, I was fascinated. It borders on spooky watching yourself on TV. Watching yourself on TV on the Internet is just as "out of body-ish." It's like wondering what I'm going to say next and then when I do say whatever it is, I get the déjà vu feeling. Except I sound more nasal. I taped the show several years ago and I don't think I ever got a chance to watch it before.

I'm going to have to watch it again because I spent the first 15 minutes not paying attention to what I was saying as I tried to place the green sweater I was wearing. It didn't look familiar at all. Then I spent the last 15 minutes looking at my nails which I must have gnawed off in the car on the way to the studio. And then there's my voice, which sounds SO much better from inside my head than the way you hear it. I don't like me on answering machines either.

If you haven't tried a Twisted Sisters quilt yet, they really are fun and easy to make, especially now that you've seen the video. I think you should buy the pattern and rotary template from my web site right now. You'll get two free "bumps" to stick to the underside of your template if you hurry up and order. Some assembly required. You'll have to peel them off and stick them on yourself. Life is hard.

Several of you wrote and asked what other "tricks" Madison does. I asked him to lend a paw with this month's newsletter, so here is what he has to say.

I like to help, so when Mom takes her shower in the morning she asks me to get her towel. I pull it off the towel bar and give it to her. She takes long showers, so she sometimes has to ask me twice because the first time I was asleep.

I like to work because I get nice words and head scratches. Every morning Mom sits down with me and I lean my head on her knees and she scratches the top of my head between my ears. I taught her to keep scratching and I just move my head around to where I like it. I usually start right on top, go way down my back, up to each of my ears, and then my face. Mom's very gentle. I move my head so she can scratch my eyelids. After a while my head gets REALLY HOT and then I get really tired and kind of fall down into a heap of satisfied dog. Mom always laughs when I get too relaxed to stay standing.

I love to take Mom's gloves off. I nibble very gently on the fingertip area and pull them off then hand them to Mom. I get very excited when I do this because it is a lot of fun, so sometimes I prance around if other people are there and pretend to give them Mom's glove, then just when they look like they're going to take it I turn my head and go back and give it to Mom because if I don't she'll give me the Ep Ep sound. (That dreaded sound means: "Don't do that and come here.") I stop whatever I'm doing even if it's fun and run back to her when I hear that. I can also take off socks, but they are harder. They also smell better, so it's a trade-off.

I also put things in the garbage. This is quite difficult to explain to other dogs, as genetically we prefer to take things OUT of the garbage. But when Mom asks me to "trash it" I take whatever she hands me, lean over the garbage, let go. It's way fun. I also pick up dirty clothes and "trash it" in the laundry chute. (Mom has to open the door.) I have even learned to stick something part way down, like a wet towel, and then pick up the bottom and lean over again. I can do cans and plastic bottles too. Those are very fun. I let them roll out of my mouth and into the basket. If someone would teach Mom how to use YouTube, I could show you.

If you saw Joe & Terry Graedon's syndicated newspaper column "People's Pharmacy" on March 15th in your local paper, you read that a postal worker wrote in about my favorite dry skin remedy: Surgeon's Skin Secret. It really does work and now is the perfect time to get your hands ready for springtime gardening. Check out their lavender scent and the handy purse and lip sizes. Nothing feels better than their One Step Manicure.

Cathy loved reading about SABLE and FABLE from previous newsletters. She's been collecting similar acronyms. She shares:

STABLE: Stash Totally Above & Beyond Life Expectancy And from Australia, WOMBAT: Waste Of Money Brains And Time (for those projects destined to become UFOs.) And PIGS: Projects In Grocery Sacks

If you have any more send them along to Cathy Miller.

Joyce shared a web page with talking heads. Type something for the person to say. Select the accent and then the person. Watch them follow your cursor with their eyes as you type and listen to all the accents.

Sue and Gale made Dog-Yeared Calendar Quilts.
Susan shows her stash.
Jack & Amy have TWO updates for you.

If you'll be in Paducah, please come find me and say hello. I'll be doing two lectures. At one you have to sit in the dark (#2811 Quilting For A Cause from 1 to 2 on Thursday) and at the other they will serve you food (#2401 Living With Quilts: A Survival Guide) from 9 to 10:30am on Saturday). You're allowed to do both. When I'm not teaching I'll either be sleeping or at the "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece" exhibit.

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 sew up a storm!
Ami Simms

CHANGE OF ADDRESS To change your email address, send an email with your OLD and your NEW email address to Debbie at MalleryPress@aol.com.