August 2003

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 Information may be outdated, irrelevant, misleading, or incorrect.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
© 2003 by Ami Simms
All rights reserved.

Hello, everyone! I'm glad you could join me this month. Special welcome to over 400 new readers from Texas! I just returned from a whirlwind tour to the Lone Star State. I visited three guilds and presented a Rally Day lecture to 700 quilters! I think that's my biggest crowd ever! Anyway, I'm glad y'all are here. In fact, I'm delighted that ALL Y'ALL are here. (In Texas-speak that would be everyone, including those NOT in Texas.)

I'm home for the whole month of August getting ready for fall teaching assignments and putting the finishing touches on my next fabric line. Come September I'll be visiting the Macomb County Quilt Guild here in Michigan, and the Utah State Quilt Guild in Provo. In October I'll be lecturing for the Georgia Quilt Council in Atlanta; exhibiting for the International Quilt Market; and teaching for the International Quilt Festival in Houston. (More on that in a minute.) In November I'll be California teaching for the Glendale Quilt Guild, the Valley Quiltmakers Guild, and the Santa Clarita Valley Quilt Guild. If you're anywhere nearby, come and say "hey!" If you see my plane overhead, WAVE as I go by!

To see where else I'll be, check out . This list only has confirmed bookings so there may appear to be a few holes. If your guild is interested in having me come visit please note that I'm booking now for 2006.

I've already set up a 10% discount plus free shipping for members of the Valley Quiltmakers Guild. They'll see the details in their next newsletter. I'll be hand delivering their merchandise at their lecture. If any other guilds would like to take advantage of this, please have the lecture or workshop chair contact me. I tried it out in Texas and people seemed to enjoy the savings.

I see that the workshop list for Festival is out. They asked me to teach THREE sessions of my Invisible Appliqué! Wow! I'll also be teaching Twisted Sisters, my Pizza workshop and participating in the Wednesday Sampler. I believe I'll also be the first teacher to "meet" at Meet The Teacher from 7:30 to 8:00pm on Wednesday, October 29th..

Quilt Market will also be exciting. My "Pie a la Mode" fabric will be out for the first time and I'm having WAY too much fun making my booth. Actually, it's a DOUBLE booth. Why do anything simple? Half will be a Pizzeria (I'm working on the brick oven now) and the other half will be a Country Kitchen.

I've been obsessing on the kitchen. Having spent so little time in one over that last several years, I had to revisit that room and I want to get it as realistic as possible. I wanted to have kitchen counters running along the back of the booth with a window in the wall, and, you guessed it, a PIE cooling on the windowsill. Pie a la Mode…GEY IT?! I've got the window done, at least in my head, but I wanted a kitchen SINK too--with running water!

I just figured out how to make water… er, how to CIRCULATE water, so now you can stop by my booth at Market to rinse your hands. Or maybe not. The water is pumped to my very high-class $13 plastic faucet from the reservoir, otherwise known as an empty kitty litter container. (Hey, it was plastic and it fit!) It dribbles out of the faucet into a Rubbermaid dishpan with a hole in the bottom doubling as a "china sink." From there it dribbles back into the kitty litter container to complete the circuit! Rube Goldberg would be proud! I just have to figure out how to hide it all in the "cabinet." I'm not sure what that will be made out of….yet. If I get it all ready in time, I'll share pictures.

People are coming up with new twists on my Twisted Sisters pattern all the time. I just taught it again in Texas and Barbara Anderson came up with a new idea for the block center. Take a look at . Click on "Exploring the Options," then select "Block Centers" and you'll find Barbara's great idea!

Debbie Voigt-Twisted Sisters Jordana McVey Puppus Doggus Janice England's photo quilt Diane Michal's string quilt Jan Palin has been taking pictures of floors again. See: and

Sales are respectable, thank you! (Ami jumping up and down excitedly, waving arms, etc.) Troy has just reordered some of the fabrics. This is too fun!

Speaking of fun, Cabin fever Quilt shop in Auburn, CA unveiled their "Pizza Challenge" last month, inviting over 2300 quilters to their Customer Appreciation Day. Challenge quilts (and other projects, too) are due by September 12, with voting taking place until the 26th. Participating pizza-partiers will be invited to a private "Pizza & Prizes Party" on September 26th. To join the fun visit Cabin Fever Quilts at 826 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA 95603 or call (530) 885-5500. You can also e-mail or visit for more details.

More than one quilter has commented about the pizza aroma of the "That's Amore" pizza kits we send out. (See ) While they do arrive in a pizza box, the boxes are brand new and UN-scented. So is the fabric. Believe me I've tried to find pizza perfume to scent the box with, but nobody wants to smell like garlic. (I DID find "Apple Pie" perfume, so I will be slightly odiferous at Quilt Market for the premier of the Pie a la Mode fabric line.)

So, if you're convinced my pizza fabric smalls like real pizza there's something wrong with your nose, or you have a great imagination, or the fabric is even more realistic than I had hoped.

I was cleaning out the closet and came across a whole bolt of very cool wave fabric. As summer is in full swing, perhaps you have a desire for an ocean-side pictorial quilt, or perhaps just some cool blue fabric for a special project. It's on sale. See

Speaking of waves crashing against the shore, have you taken your dolphin stress test? This one is a must. Head over to:

Tis the season…to get all those school supplies again. Here's a practical, if somewhat goofy, special. I've bundled three of the World's Best Pencil sharpeners (the ones that sharpen pencils to a lethal point and come with a little button to eject broken pencil leads---should that ever happen) with…hold on to your hats…the mysterious Sensmatic pencils that (drum roll…)DON'T EVER NEED SHARPENING! (That's right. They're desposible and automatic. The lead advances by itself. No twisting, no shaking, no buttons to push…it just KNOWS!)

So how does this make sense? Who said it had to?! You'll get 3 sharpeners (blue, red, and green) and a box of 12 pencils that don't need sharpening! But that's not all. You'll also get a box of Aquarelle water-soluble pencils for marking quilts! And, you can sharpen those!

You get all this only $27.95. You save almost $4 buying the bundle. And, since I'm making it count as only "one" item, you'll save another $1 in shipping, too! Buy TWO and you'll save…well, TWICE AS MUCH! See it at .

I get a ton of catalogs. Most of them go right into the recycle bin after a quick flip. Recently, I got a copy of Practica. They sell cooking stuff, mostly. Since I gave up cooking I'm not too interested, but they have tips every couple of pages. These sounded pretty good. Anybody ever try them? Use automatic dishwashing detergent to clean stainless kitchen sinks. (I actually have done that. There's bleach in there, so that takes care of a lot of the stains.) To remove rust from stainless or chrome, pour cola on a piece of tin foil. They didn't say if you just let it sit there on the tin foil or if you have to rub it on the sink or faucet, but they probably just forgot that part. I don't think the cola and tin foil sitting on the counter will do much good. I think I'm going to try this next one: To get rid of water spots on faucets (don't you just hate those?) use a soft cloth with a little furniture polish. If you'd like to get your own copy of Practica, call 1-800-825-9817. Or, visit:

Not that I don't give you great information and valuable advice, but if you REALLY want to learn something sign up for Bob's newsletter. Last month I learned all about polyester thread. I still can't pronounce "ethylene terephthalate" but I know what it is! Why do I care? More importantly, why should YOU care? Ever quilt with "monofilament" thread? Hmmm....the more you know, the better equipped you'll be to make important decisions about the thread you use in your quilts. Bob is thread, specifically SUPERIOR THREADS. In addition to a "lesson" each month on some aspect of thread, you'll hear all about special deals and new products at Superior Threads. And it's free too. Sign up today at by clicking on "Newsletter." If you want to know what "ethylene terephthalate" is, click on the Education page on the same website.

Stacy Whitney sent in a good one: Go have a look.

Many thanks to those of you who have donated blocks, bucks or both to help Leader Dogs For the Blind and/or Paws With A Cause. This month you are Margo Ellis and Barbara Jarvis.

What am I talking about? I have an "almost free" pattern on my web page called Puppus Doggus. (Daisy, the Leader Dog puppy we raised created the pattern.) You can print it off at or you can get the new and improved version e-mailed to you. (See ) Either way, there is no charge until you USE the pattern. At that time you owe me either a block or a buck. You tell me which charity gets the money and you earn my undying gratitude. It's all on the honor system, but if you fudge you will incur the doggie curse, too horrible to fully disclose here. (But it STARTS with neighborhood dogs leaving presents on your front lawn.)

If you want to participate in my on-going Dog-Yeared Block of the Month Mystery Mystery Calendar Quilt, the test you have to take (to see if you can download, locate and open PDF files) is downloading, locating and opening the almost free Puppus Doggus pattern. See how this is all interconnected?

Seamlessly she moves in for yet another plug… So, if you'd like to join the rest of us crazies making these "PUP-ular" doggie blocks visit . (Thanks Merry for the PUP-ular part.)

I suppose I should also say that if you are a subscriber you should already have received your AUGUST pattern via e-mail. Snail-mailers will receive theirs in a day or too. They have already been mailed.

I wash my hair every day yet haven't bought shampoo in probably 15 years! How do I do that? Simple: I stay in enough hotels that give provide cute little bottles of shampoo that I don't have to. I love them. It's like getting a little present every time the room is made up.

This may all come to a screeching halt as I have noticed a nasty trend: they are moving to PACKETS of shampoo instead of bottles. They're probably saving money on plastic, plus landfills across the country are likely shrinking. Thinking only of myself, I must say that I don't like it. No sir. Not one bit.

I am but a modest shampoo-er. I use a little, hide the partially used bottle in my luggage so I'll get another when the maid comes, and when I get home I decant my winnings into an attractive squeeze bottle in the shower. The decanting is part of my "re-entry" ritual. Think of the money I'm saving! I'm probably more than several yards of fabric ahead of the game by now!

The new little packets are very annoying. I still use the same frugal amount of shampoo, but it is impossible to save the remainder unless I bring my own empty bottle. (I suppose I could use ONE packet for my entire trip, but what kind of perk is THAT?)

Did I mention the open packets fall over in the shower? Yes, they do. They dribble shampoo down the wall or fall right to the floor. And if you accidentally step on them once they've been opened, and sometimes even if they haven't, they can squirt shampoo (depending on the brand) up to several feet!

But what REALLY annoys me is, well, trying to open the little shampoo packets in the first place. Like most, I remove my glasses before showering. This makes it easier to wash my face and behind my ears but it makes it very difficult to find the infinitesimally small slit in the side of the packet that is supposed to aid me in opening the blasted little thing. I squint, turn it around and around, and try to locate the slit by touch. If I am lucky enough to find it I'm still not home free. In the shower, with the water running, I don't know, call me crazy, but MY HANDS ARE SOAKING WET. And SLIPPERY! I've had shampoo packets jump out of my hand like a hooked mackerel trying to return to the sea.

On my last encounter I found the slit but couldn't open the foil packet with my fingers to save my life. Desperately seeking shampoo, I used the only other tool available: my teeth. I ripped open the packet! Ta-DAH! Success, right? Wrong. While I was able to rip it open, in doing so I succeeded in squirting a healthy dollop of Pert under my upper lip. This started a spitting frenzy like no other and for the rest of the day my tongue was manageable and tangle-free but the taste lingered to well after lunch So, unless manufacturers are willing to make flavored shampoo, can we go back to the cute little plastic bottles in hotels?

Some ding-dong in the programming department at HGTV seems to think that taking off the afternoon episode of Simply Quilts is a good thing. (This change will be in effect as of September 29th.) If you'd like to register your dismay, please call HGTV at 865 694-7879 or visit to send an e-mail. In both cases you will be contacting View Services who are diligently tracking the results to forward to the Programming Department. POWER TO THE QUILTERS!

Mallery Press is branching out---just this once---and publishing a book written by someone other than me! Look for "The Reluctant Sailor" by Bud Gottesman this fall. For those of you who have been reading this newsletter for a while, you know him as "Uncle Bud." For those not familiar with this very funny guy, check out the story of his first car at . If you want more, read about buying a new garden hose at .

If you want still more, then you can help me proof his new book. I'll e-mail you a copy of his "laugh-out-loud" adventures in the Navy during World War II and you e-mail it back to me in ONE WEEK all marked up with yellow highlighter and red pen. Electronically, that is. You will need to have Microsoft Word and know how to mark a document with "highlighter." (You can skip the red ink part, but I will be sending you more detailed instructions if you are selected.) You'll also get a free copy of the REAL book, autographed and everything, when it's published, PLUS a $50 gift certificate for anything on my web page.

The book is about 100 pages long and it's hard to believe how all these funny things happened to ONE guy! If you're interested, e-mail me with your qualifications at

I was featured in my local paper, The Flint Journal! That was fun! See

This month the lucky winner will be getting another Mystery Box. Who knows what amazing things will be inside! Fabric? Notions? Paterns? STUFF? Yes, and MORE! Enter to win at:

By the way, there is a prize from last month that hasn't been claimed. Have you checked to see if it's YOURS?

There are six more quilts to bid on this month: #79, #80, #81, #82, #83, and #84. Please bid generously. All proceeds go to two great causes! Bid here: Until next time, thanks again for tuning in. Have a great quilting day and may all your puckers be on you lips (and not on the backs of your quilts).

Ami Simms

PS: If you liked this newsletter please forward it to a friend. If you're the friend and would like to get a free copy each month e-mail and ask Debbie to put you on the list.

Ami's Schedule
Twisted Sisters Template & Pattern
Debbie Voight's Twisted Sisters
Jordana McVey's Puppus Doggus
Janice England's Photo-Quilt
Diane Michal's string quilt
Jan's floor #1
Jan's floor #2
Jan's floor #3
Cabin Fever Quilt Shop Pizza Party Challenge
That's Amore Pizza Kit
Cool Wave Fabric On Sale
Dolphin Stress Test
Back-To-School Special
Practica Cooking Stuff
Bob's Newsletter
What Were They Thinking
Puppus Doggus Almost Free Pattern
Puppus Doggus Almost Free Pattern E-Mailed
Dog-Yeared Mystery Block of the Month Calendar Quilt
Unlce Bud's First Car
The Garden Hose
I'm in the Paper!
Win Cool Stuff
Charity Auction Quilts Ami's Web Page

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