August 2002

Warning: this is an OLD newsletter. Time marches on; things change. Information may be outdated, irrelevant, misleading or incorrect. (That means links, which are down at the bottom, may not work either. Unless it sends you to a porno site I won't fix it so don't tell me.) To get on the list to receive the next current newsletter, hit the BACK arrow on your browser and enter your e-mail address in the box on the previous page. You'll get the next issue. If you absolutely can't figure it out then e-mail me. It's free! What are you waiting for?

The Ami Simms Newsletter
August 1, 2002
Copyright by Ami Simms.

Here I am in your mailbox again. I'm glad you double-clicked. It was getting dark in here.

As always, you're encouraged to share this newsletter with all your friends (and your enemies too).

When you do forward things, send the e-mail to YOURSELF and put the string of addresses receiving it in the BLIND CARBON COPY area of your e-mail. That way you won't force your friends to read through a bunch of boring addresses before they get to the good stuff. You'll also avoid spreading around your friends' addresses to possible spammers and "get rich quick" scam artists. It's the polite thing to do.

Huh? There is one, you know! Get 10% off when you use the form on the web page to tell your friends about

Where's the form? Why it's at the bottom of nearly every page on my web site. Nobody will collect your e-mail address, so don't worry. As soon as you send your e-mail you'll get the coupon code for the 10% off. And so will your friend. It's good for sale stuff too. You can use it right away. As in "almost immediately."

Speaking of sales. (Clever transition, don't you think?) The Aquarelle washout marking pencils at are on sale. Big time. If you buy them by the box you can save over 45% off the individual pencil price. What are you going to do with TWELVE? You've got friends, haven't you? Or keep them all for yourself. I'll never tell.

Why the deal? We found the supplier, the mother load, of Aquarelles and we're passing the savings on to you. Why? Because I ordered a boatload of them!

Sharpen those babies with the World's Greatest Pencil Sharpener. We just re-ordered those too. Same cute colors and a special button to push out any broken leads you might get stuck in them. See

Amazingly nobody has claimed the June prize of Superior Thread. A winner has been drawn. Go see if it's YOU!

You may also want to see if you won July's prize, the Mountain Mist Batting and Mystery Box. I put my hand in the hat and picked the winner on that one too. I can hardly stand the excitement. Head over to

Didn't win either of those? You're in luck! You (and the winners too) can enter to win the August prize, which is a great assortment of Mettler thread. The lucky winner will get a 28-spool collection of Metrosene polyester sewing thread, an 8-spool assortment of Mettler poly sheen embroidery thread, three 875-yard spools of silky sheen, and 9 more spools of assorted colors and types of thread. What a haul! Enter to win as often as you like at

The Twisted Sisters exhibit will be in Lansing, Michigan and Greensboro, North Carolina this month at the World Quilt & Textile Show. I'll be a "civilian" at the Lansing show on Saturday, but I'll be teaching in Greensboro. Come by and say hello. If you can't make it in person, visit the Twisted Sisters quilts on-line at

The following lines from The Robert Kaufman Company are just recently up on the Conversational Fabric Database at Island Prints, In The Woods, Imperial Collection, and Bay Shore. Use the database to see what's new and to audition fabrics for your Picture Play Quilts.

Once you visit the database and find a fabric you can't live without, e-mail one of the quilt shops listed to see if they have it in stock. (We make it so easy.)

Can't live without your very own copy of Picture Play Quilts? We can help. Get a free chunk of fabric when you order yours on-line. Autographs are available upon request. (You can request all you want but I'm the only one that signs 'em.)

Remember the Quilt Bus from a previous newsletter? And the story about the missing horse from last month? Kris Dreissen and her family lost their home and their business (Hickory Hill Quilts) in a fire on July 23rd. Everyone escaped, but their home is a total loss.

Updates are being posted to . The pictures of the fire are just devastating.

Many people in the quilting community are helping them get back on their feet. The web page above lists ways you can help too. And, if you feel so inclined to give me 15 minutes of your time, help me by making them a block or two for a heart quilt. Click on the picture of the Quilt Bus at for more details.

Thankfully, the Quilt Bus survived. Kris and John will be keeping ALL their August engagements except for Heartland Quilters in Denton, MD. They WILL be at the New England Images show in Lowell, MA. If you attend any show and you see the Quilt Bus in the parking lot please stop by and, well.... BUY. Everybody wins. (See, buying fabric CAN be a good deed. Go tell your husband.)

Check out Cathy Miller's CD called A Quilter's Embrace. It's hot of the.....whatever CDs are hot from! Songs range from "giggle-out-loud" to "lump-in-your-throat" and you won't want to miss a single one of them. Sing along with "Frog Stitch" (the "rip-it" song) and "When I Die" (all about her stash) then dab the tears as you listen to "The Quilter's Embrace" and "Healing Hearts." Treat yourself to a copy at Cathy's website:

Karen H. sent some pictures of her stash. You'll want to look at .

Susan Gertz has made an awesome Twisted Sisters quilt for her "twisted sister-in-law." Take a look at

Donalyn Wall has made another string quilt and her LAST "grandchild quilt." Read all about it at

An anonymous quilter from Arkansas shares her "entry" as a Worst Quilt Wannabe. No Worst Quilt Prize-Winner here, but the story sure is funny at

Rose Yonai shares a quilt she made with photo-transfers of her son's wedding at

Lori Pressor made a gorgeous quilt using some of my Mom's hand dye painted one-of-a-kind fabrics. . Has anyone else made a quilt using my Mom's fabrics? I'd like to put them on my web page if you have. Please send me photos and the stories behind the quilt.

Our basement is divided into two halves: Steve's half and my two-thirds. Try not to think about the math; it just slows you down.

My side contains important things. His side just has his junk in it.

It really isn't my fault. It has to do with the position of the basement steps. Since they didn't divide the area equally, I naturally claimed the bigger half when we moved in.

Before you go feeling sorry for him, you need to understand that this really is perfectly fair. After 25 years of marriage we came to an understanding about these matters long ago. My domain is the house and all interior surfaces, including but not limited to floor coverings, walls, furniture, fixtures, and the color, style and placement thereof. (I don't CLEAN any of it; I'm just "in charge.")

Steve can do whatever he wants in the yard, most of the garage, and the shed, except that we tore that down two years ago. He also gets to mow the lawn, clear off the snow, take out the garbage, and resurface the driveway. I get the mail. And the newer car, although he does get to wash it and re-fuel it when the temperature dips below 70 or skyrockets past 75. He gets to drive whenever we go any place together.

Fair division of labor is what makes our marriage work, plus he can put whatever he wants to in his side of the basement--a small perk that seems to make him happy.

After 12 years in this house both halves of the basement have gotten a little cluttered. Especially Steve's side since he got the washer and dryer as there wasn't room on my side. Naturally he gets to do his own laundry. Not to worry, he can use my iron whenever it's not pressing patchwork. The mini freezer is also in his domain so he can put away the frozen food. Makes it so much easier for him to find when it's time to cook. Did I mention that I stopped fixing meals (or shopping for them) about four years ago?

Steve also has the Christmas decorations, furnace, hot water heater, some tools, the collection of extension cords, old tax records, and fuse box. These are all MANLY things and BELONG on his side, although through some quirk of fate I got the sump pump and water softener.

Everything was just hunky dory until we made Jennie clean out her room. She's leaving for college next month. Each room-cleaning generates a few more Overflow Treasures, which are relegated to the basement. (Steve's side, of course.) It was while we were sorting through these to make more room for more that we noticed I had started to ooze. Indeed several of my Important Boxes had mysteriously gone over to the "other side." (Gasp!)

I knew Dad's coin and stamp collections had crossed the line years ago, but as long as Steve hadn't noticed, no harm done. I was a little surprised to find the paper party decorations from my 7th birthday had snuck over there. I found them next to the 50 pounds of colored jeans that must have left my side for his under their own power because I certainly don't remember moving them. (I buy those at Goodwill so I can chop them up and make something "artsy" out of them some day. Right after I figure out to do with the 2,000 pearl buttons. I've been collecting the jeans on "spec" since 1997 but I just need a few more colors.) My entire collection of feed sacks had migrated along with the box of Velcro pieces, mostly hook, some loop. My flute music from high school was over there too. Just when I got to wondering where the flute was and how many decades it's been since I attempted to play it Steve appeared and very sweetly asked if I would return my things to my side. The nerve!

Now, I married a kind and mostly reasonable man. I decided to humor him except that my side was so stuffed with other important things there was no room for the aforementioned renegade boxes. I'd have to MAKE ROOM.

This is always easier said than done. My policy has always been to move my overflow from my side over to my mother's basement. This has been especially helpful in dealing with failed sewing projects that I abandoned but can't bear to part with. That way I don't have to look at, and be reminded of, my shortcomings. They can sit in her basement and cure until I find the sixteen hours it would require to rip out every stitch and start over again. It could happen.

This plan has worked just fine until my mother moved in with US and brought BACK all of my UFOs... plus my doll dishes and my wedding gown in the big cardboard box.

So, to make a long story short (I know, I missed that opportunity about 20 minutes ago) I have taken drastic measures to comply with my husband's sweetly spoken yet totally unreasonable request. In order to make room for more important things in my half of the basement, I have decided that there must be someone out there more clever than I who would want to take my treasures and turn them into quilts or wash rags that could be auctioned to benefit Leader Dogs For The Blind or Paws With A Cause.

Here's what I have and I'm asking for volunteers:

1. A sweet hand-pieced bow tie quilt that needs some mending. And then quilting. I don't even remember how I came to have it but tried to sell it for $10 and found no takers. Nuff said.

2. Two rather large hand appliquéd blocks I used to demonstrate something (appliqué? quilting?) on Simply Quilts. Wonderfully bright colors on Marsha McCloskey's Staples fabric. You get all the pieces and it even has the needle still stuck in it. Left-handedly. Some hand appliqué, some hand quilting, and these babies would make wonderful pillows. Heck, I'd even bid on them. I just don't want to FINISH them.

3. Remember the old quilt top from last year's Team #12? Well, progress has been slow. The top has reverted back to a pile of blocks. I don't know if this was because a lack of air circulation in the box, or somebody actually took a seam ripper to it. I have no expectations here. The top came from an abandoned storage locker and I just saved it from the dumpster. Square the blocks up, or not, I don't care. Just get them back together and quilt the silly thing.

4. You know the Flying Geese quilt on the back of the sofa in my living room that I made in 1983? Well, it used to have a border. For some unknown reason I took it off. Probably didn't fit. I saved that border, plus the extra geese and my ratty cardboard templates. If this were real estate you'd be looking at a real "fixer-upper." In the art world you'd have a frame with no painting. Concoct something to go in the middle (like you have 20-year-old fabric sitting around that would match) or chop it and recombine to your heart's content. Again, no expectations. Honest. Whatever you do is fine. You get extra points if you name it Sky Rats.

5. And those Log Cabin blocks from Team #13? Yeah, they haven't gotten any farther along either. They're all yours, plus five pounds of matching fabric to make more blocks, make the ones you get bigger, or patch a backing. Surprise me.

6. Here's a challenge: three pounds of triangles all the same size and no pattern. Not for the feint of heart. Faint of heart? You'll faint when you open the box? SURPRISE!!!

7. Want to start from scratch? Mom's been dying fabric again, mostly animals. Her hand painted/dye stamped creations are whimsical and charming. I've got lots just waiting to be turned into quilts. Let your imagination run wild. Or run amuck. Either way is fine.

And the rules are:

Pick the project that best suits your abilities.

The first person to e-mail me gets the project. Put the NUMBER of the one you want to do in the subject. I'll e-mail you back if you're the winner. Do include your mailing address for UPS delivery.

Finished or not, you have to ship it back to me within ONE MONTH or receiving it. Please include all the parts, even the ones you don't use.

Work together or with a friend, just appoint ONE of you as spokesperson. (I'm already half nuts, don't send me the rest of the way.)

List everyone who helps and whatever else you might want to add for the web page. Return it with the project.

YOU decide which charity gets the dough after I auction the quilt: Leader Dogs For The Blind or Paws With a Cause

On your mark, get set, GO!

Isn't that clever? Auction block...QUILT BLOCK....a QUILT ON THE AUCTION BLOCK. I amaze myself sometimes. (Trust me, it's not hard.)

Jennifer Barnes from Springfield, VA sent me a beautiful little quilt to auction for Leader Dogs. It measures 34" by 43" and could hang on the wall or warm a lap. Maybe a baby quilt for a little one with grownup tastes in fabric. She's used lovely batik-y looking fabric in blues and grays and machine-quilted it with gold thread.

Please bid generously, as all proceeds will to Leader Dogs For The Blind. Bid at

I have a friend who will be going to school at Bradford University near York. If anyone is familiar with the area (so she can find a suitable "flat" in a good part of town) please e-mail Katy at ASAP with your suggestions and recommendations. Thanks.
This is something new. It's a web site that's set up to bring people together with common interests. Quilters have been given their own page and a MEETUP DAY once a month. The Quilters' Day is every second Wednesday at 6pm, that's August 14th this month. We're all invited to hang out together in our own hometown at a local restaurant that our group decides on. Chain and local restaurants sponsor the site. It's a worldwide thing. It's FREE.

At first I was a little skeptical: don't we have ENOUGH meetings? But this could be a cool thing. Guild representatives could attend and spread the word. New guilds could be formed where there were none previously. Visiting quilters could find locals in exotic locales. All right, bottom line: We wouldn't have to cook dinner the second Wednesday of the month!

If you're interested, check out at . I signed up but I'll have to catch you next month because I'll be on my way to North Carolina on the 14th. (Wave to me if you see my plane.)

Thanks for tuning in again for my monthly installment of drivel. I'll see you again next month. in the meantime, have a great quilting day!

Ami Simms

Ami's Web Page.
Aquarelle Washout Marking Pencil Sale.
World's Greatest Pencil Sharpener.
Did YOU Win The Thread?
Did You Win The Mystery Box & Batting?
Enter To Win This Month's Prize.
Twisted Sisters Quilts Search For Conversational Fabric.
Ask A Quilt Shop. Autographed Copies of Picture Play Quilts.
The Fire.
Make A Heart Block .
Cathy Miller's CD.
Karen's Stash.
Susan's Quilt.
Donalyn's Quilt.
Worst Quilt Wannabe.
Rose's Quilt.
Lori's Quilt.
Team #12 Quilt.
Team #13 Quilt.
Leader Dogs For The Blind.
Paws With A Cause.
eBay Quilt Auction For Leader Dogs.
E-mail Katy about England.
Ami's Web Page
Get This Newsletter FREE.

Getting this newsletter and don't want it? Send an e-mail to: Type REMOVE in the body.