April 2012

April 2012
The Ami Simms Newsletter
©April 2012

March was certainly interesting here in Michigan. Mid-month temperatures got up in the 80's, On Thursday we had thunder, lightning, snow, sleet, and rain all at the same time! Ah, spring!

And spring means only one thing around here: It's time to dye the underpants! When the weather warms up my thoughts turn to dying panties.

This all began several many ago when I first began hand dying fabric. I couldn't see wasting even a single drop, so I quickly looked around for some small item to throw in there with the fabric. Underpants. Steve asked me to quit dying his, but I continued to dye my own every time the weather warmed up and I took the dye buckets outside. It was a great way to emotionally cast off the gray skies and cold temperatures of winter and celebrate spring. And color. Lots of color.

Several years ago I mentioned this in my blog and created the Yo-Yo Sisterhood of the Traveling Panties so others could celebrate spring with me. I received more than 100 pairs of underpants in the mail to dye that first year!

Join the fun and send me your panties!

Pretty colored earrings aren't as much fun as Ami-dyed panties, but they're close. There are five new "girls" this month: Juliet, Bethany, Dana, Lizzy, and Pauline. Ultralight earrings (archival paper, heat pressed with ultra clear archival plastic) by Peg Howard are only $10 a pair when you buy three. Watch the video! http://www.amisimms.com/earrings.html

Several of the designs are retiring, so when they're gone, that's it. (Get one pair for just $10.) If you need to liven up your lobes now's a great time. Hurry!

OK, so I'm slouching in bed the other night watching Netflix on my iPad. I've got my earbuds in, a pillow balanced against the iPad and my head so I won't disturb Steve. All of a sudden I see this black spider zip down the screen. It's about a 1/2" in diameter moving pretty fast. Since it went directly down the middle of the screen and I'm half asleep I think its part of the show. (Never mind that the show I'm watching has nothing to do with bugs.) I just register a mental "hmmmm" and keep watching. Then it zips UP the screen, again perfectly up the middle. I'm such an idiot, I try to follow it with my finger! I only notice it's a REAL spider when it runs off the screen and onto the top of the iPad, at which point the iPad becomes slightly airborne. When I realize the spider is now IN MY BED I become airborne. On my way to the light switch I wake up Steve so he can find the spider and kill it. The spider knows and starts racing around the top of the bed. Four arms flailing, we are no match for this insidious insect. Then, a fatal miscalculation: the spider takes refuge inside the left cup of my bra which I discarded on top of the bed earlier. Black on white, I spot him easily (there's just not that much room to hide in one of my bras). Steve smears him to smithereens. My question to you is: spiders are born without parents and without siblings, RIGHT?

You could have answered that question three whole days ago if you're on FaceBook with me. Be my friend by clicking the LIKE button.

I've got quilts all over the house. They're draped over banisters and the backs of couches, stacked on beds, and rolled in closets. My favorite quilts are hung on the walls. I used to hang them with flat aluminum stock from the hardware store. I'd beg one of the clerks to cut the aluminum to just shorter than the width of my quilt. Then I'd make Steve drill holes at each end. I'd whack a molly into the drywall at each end of the quilt and screw them into the wall. And there they'd stay. Changing one quilt for another meant the quilt had to be wider to cover the holes in the wall from the previous quilt. Pretty soon I ran out of wall and it looked like Swiss cheese behind the quilts.

Now I hang my quilts with an ingenious bracket system. They're called "No See Ums" and they're fantastic. First I can do the entire job myself. Second I can get the quilts straighter. Third, I can swap out one quilt for another (even if they are not the same width) whenever I want because the brackets don't support the quilt at the ends. And, fourth, should I ever need to remove the brackets they come off the wall in a snap and you can't tell they were ever there. No holes.

Order No See Ums™ here.

I'm offering my String Star Online Workshop again starting April 23.Take the class with me at home, in your spare time, and possibly in your jammies. Learn how to string fabric together, create "tubes" with set fabric, and then slice and dice your way to the stars, er…star. This is a "stash-busting" project. You'll get to use up a lot of leftovers.

I'll lead you through the creation of your quilt top with written directions, photographs, and videos. Learn a slick way to select fabric, a cool way to cut blocks, pressing strategies to make piecing easier, and tips at every turn. Sign up now.

I'll be visiting the Mainland Morning Quilt Guild in Texas City, TX. They have three more spaces left in my "New Way To Piece: Applique" workshop on Friday, April 20th. If you are interested in attending, contact Diane at ladydi0102@earthlink.net immediately for details.

In addition to the Mainland Morning Quilt Guild, I'll also be visiting the Island Quilt Guild in Galveston. Want to come? Email MaryLou at mlmilazzo-at-hotmail.com.

In May I'll be teaching for the Ohio Valley Quilters' Guild in Cincinnati, and the Macomb County Quilt Guild in Utica, Michigan. See my current teaching schedule to bring me to your guild.

Online auction quilts are up. Stop by the AAQI blog for a video, slide show, and gallery images of all the quilts, AND a link to bid in the auction if the mood so swings you in that direction.

Keep your eyes open on FaceBook for the instant we receive our 10,000th donated Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt. We are less than 75 quilts from that milestone. We've also just funded another research study! Please follow us and "share" our updates on FaceBook. It costs you nothing and it helps get the word out:

Click here , then click on the words: "Making A Difference: Volunteers Make 10,000 Quilts to Fight Alzheimer's" to read Beth Hartford's nomination for me to be considered for the "Making A Difference" segment on NBC Evening News with Brian Williams! The more people who comment the better the chance we have of getting their attention. Even if all you want to write is "Go, Ami!" that would be GREAT!

Thanks for answering my call for quilts you've made in my workshops or from my patterns. They are always welcome, so if you haven't sent in yours yet, it's not too late.

Mary Frick shared two ZigZag Zoom quilts made from my Picture Play Quilts book.

Bernadiene Galvin sent a picture of her String Star quilt!

Jean Hensley finished her Dancing Spools quilt!

Regine Beisel from Düsseldorf made a Tiny Treasure quilt !

Gwen Milholen finished her Dancing Spools quilt and shared her String Quilt from a previous workshop.

Jane Woods will be donating her Twisted Sisters quilt to charity, but just the quilt, not her dachshund, Heidi.

My friend Karen Combs (teacher, author, and fabric designer) was the victim of a robbery while teaching in Texas. Her rental car was broken into and her quilts and teaching supplies were stolen. Read what happened on her blog. Please forward this link so that quilters everywhere can keep their eyes open for these quilts. Thank you for helping.

A quilt recovered two months after the deadly tornado that went through Piedmont, OK in May of last year is still not reunited with the family it belongs to. Watch this video and see if you can solve this mystery.

I've mentioned Fraser Smith's incredible carved quilt art before. Fraser has entered ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is looking for a place to stay in or around Grand Rapids from September 15 through October 10th. If you have a room to rent or a field to camp in, email him at: fraser@gofraser.com

Have a wonderful April and I'll be in your email box again next month!

Ami Simms
Mallery Press, Inc.
4206 Sheraton Drive
Flint, MI 48532

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