December 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 Information may be outdated, irrelevant, misleading or incorrect.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 E-Newsletter
(c) December 2002 by Ami Simms
(All rights reserved. Share ALL or NONE.)

It's a joy to be back in your mailbox again this month. Here in Michigan all our leaves fell off the trees, the sky turned gray, temperatures dropped, and everybody and their uncle decided to go shopping. Your mailbox seemed to be the safest place.

As always please share this newsletter with anyone whom you might think would enjoy it. Just forward the whole nine yards. And be sure to tell them they can get their own copy by signing up at .

Beginning in January I'll be offering a Mystery Block of the Month: an appliquéd Puppus Doggus Calendar Quilt called DOG-YEARED! (Get it? Dog-eared....Dog-YEARED. I even amaze myself sometimes.) Thanks to Joan Powers for the inspiration.

You'll get one Puppus Doggus pattern for every month of the year, seasonally themed of course, plus a 13th to suggest sashing and finishing tips. You will be able to purchase all 13 patterns for at a discounted price as downloadable PDF files sent to your e-mail address around the first day of each month. Or, if you'd rather, you can go month by month. Single patterns will be offered at the regular price.

I will be offering a tutorial on the web page in January to teach you how to download, find, open, and print PDF files, so don't panic. Even if you're totally hopeless, you can still participate. You'll have an option to purchase printed patterns by US mail too.

In all cases, the patterns will be AVAILABLE around the first day of every month if you pay for the whole lot at once, or one by one.

These are APPLIQUE patterns. (Come back, come back!) You can use the line drawing of each month to do traditional needle-turn, freezer paper, template, fusible, Invisible Applique, OR you can get your money's worth and continue on with me as I give you step-by-step directions with lots of pictures for a NEW way to do fusible machine appliqué that is soft and supple and doesn't feel like 16 paper plates glued together. It's awesome.

Look for more details on the Dog-Yeared Mystery Block of the Month in the January newsletter.

To get you ready for that January download I'm offering a "Get Started For Puppus Doggus Kit" that includes the following:

Five sheets of Steam-A-Seam2. You'll need one 9" x 12" sheet of Steam-A-Seam2 each month, so this will get you started. (Other brands won't work with my "No Fuss Fusible Applique Technique."

Fiskar Squeezie Scissors with Blunt Tips. These are the best scissors I've found for tight cornering with little or no hand fatigue. I prefer the rounded ends instead of the sharp pointy ones so I don't accidentally clip out more than I'm aiming for after applique.

An Applique Goo Grabber. Protect your ironing surface and your Doggus as you fuse.

A colorful plastic Carry-All Tote to safely store your supplies, patterns and finished blocks throughout the year. It has a clipboard on top to keep pattern and Steam-A-Seam2 aligned for tracing, and a roomy interior that measures 121/2 x 171/2" x 11/4". That's plenty of room for our 10" finished blocks. Plus it's that smooth wonderful plastic that I love to pet.

You can buy all the parts separately but if you purchase them as a kit I'll throw in a Magic Needle, a SensMatic disposable pencil, and a 12" x 12" chunk of the coolest background fabric ever for the month of July. (The Magic Needle is really a self-threading needle, but I think they're magic the way they let you bury threads under the stitching. The SensMatic pencil is perfect for tracing the pattern onto the Steam-A-Seam2. And, the July background fabric will make your Puppus Doggus' tail wag from the 1st all the way to the 31st.

To order the "Get Started With Puppus Doggus Kit" head over to From there you can also follow links to each of the items offered in the kit if you'd like to buy them separately. (Except the awesome July fabric.)

My friend Helen Marshall from New Zealand has come out with an adorable quilter's wallet, perfect for that next quilt show you attend. Worn around the neck it has pockets and zippers galore to hold whatever you need from cash to car keys and glasses to passport.

When we taught together in NC this year Helen was brainstorming for a good name. I suggested "The Third Boob" but she thought "The Tiny Travel Tote" was a little more high class. (There's no accounting for taste!) See

Bumps: Those of you who have played around with my Twisted Sisters pattern know that placing a rotary template or ruler over a seam (remember Steps #4 and #5?) can make the template wobble. These little self-sticking plastic bumps (otherwise known as "Clear Fabric Grabbers") make things flat and stable. They're great for other rotary rulers as well. See them at

Magnetic Quilts: Blue Feather Products, makers of the Grabbit magnetic pincushion has turned some of my quilts into refrigerator magnets. I have five styles. They make great stocking stuffers, just take them out before you put on your shoes. See them at

Remember the raincoat I went on and on about in the last newsletter? The raincoat of my dreams? Well, thanks to my clever readership I was able to contact the now retired Phyllis Wells of Wellspring Design in Bozeman, MT. (It's all coming back to you now, isn't it?) Yes, she still has a handful left. She let me pick the one I wanted and I volunteered to sell the rest if anybody was interested. So, if you wear a size small, we can be twins. Head over to I only have four to sell for Phyllis and when they're gone, well, you know the rest.

I'm looking for a personal shopper in San Francisco. Anyone willing to hit China Town before Christmas, let me know. My husband wants chirping birds for Christmas. Long story. E-mail me at

This month the Warm Company has donated THREE selections of products for you to win. It includes the following goodies: one Warm & Natural(r) Craft Batt; one Soft & Bright(tm) Craft Batt; one Warm & White(tm) Craft Batt, Cindy Walter's Italian City Snippet Sensations Step by Step pattern booklet; five sheets of Steam-A-Seam2(r); five sheets of Lite Steam-A-Seam2; a Beads-2-Fuse Project Kit; 40 yards of 1/4"-wide Steam-A-Seam2(r) and 40 yards of 1/4"-wide Lite Steam-A-Seam2(r). Hurry up and go enter to win at

Cheryl really seemed to enjoy the sewer story and composed this little ditty sung to the tune of "Row, row, row, your boat."

Row, row, row your camera, gently down the stream, If you made me watch the video, I would surely scream.

On a much more serious note, the rash of quilt thefts continues. Two quilts were stolen from the International Quilt Festival at the opening of the show and a quilt was vandalized just after closing. Please see for details.

On a happier note, I made it from lecture to workshop in 49 seconds....tie strings from my Amish prayer covering flapping behind me as I ran down the corridors. Trouble was I couldn't speak coherently for a good three minutes as I caught my breath. Thanks to Bonnie Hensley for setting up my entire classroom for me, and to the workshop participants for putting up with my strange attire.

On an even happier note, I've been invited back to teach Invisible Applique next year, so if you were one of those who requested the class and were shut out, you've got another chance in 2003. Hope to see you there!

Thanks to Faith for sharing this interesting web site: You can look up local restaurants and purchase gift certificates at HALF PRICE and print them right off your computer. If you find something you like it's a great deal!

Don't forget to see the hottest new conversational fabrics on my Conversational Fabric Database where you can search by motif, color, line name, manufacturer and designer. Use this free service to audition fabric for your next Picture Play Quilt. All fabrics are coded so you can tell what fabric is appropriate for the quilt you're making. Lear more about Picture Play Quilts at

"Country Roads," "Legends," "Making Tracks," "Out of the Woods," and "Wilderness Kids," all from Troy Corporation are now up and ready for you to explore. "Emma's Garden" by Clothworks is also up.

We just reprinted Picture Play Quilts for the third time. Thank you for making it one of Mallery Press' best sellers. This time I thought it would be fun to help in the production line at the printers. Mallery Press staff and friends BOOGER-GLUED the package of plastic cutting and auditioning templates to the back of 7,500 copies. Took us about seven hours over two days. That was about six hours more than I needed to realize that I like writing them a whole lot more than "gluing" them. (And yes, any dirty fingerprints on the backs of the envelope are probably mine.) See our assembly line at

There are lots of new additions this month and still a few more for me to put up next month. So get a good seat and ladies, hold 'em up HIGH!

Nancy made a delightful little Puppus Doggus wallhanging. See it at

Melanie Tehan also shares a Puppus Doggus quilt this month. Check out her doggies and dog houses at

You can enjoy Joanna's stash at

Joanna's tip for keeping monofilament thread from un-winding out of control at

The Quilter's Unlimited of Tallahassee has a great idea for guild directories at

and the Capital Quilters of Lansing, MI share a really cute sign at

The annual Lead In The Holidays Auction benefiting Leader Dogs For The Blind was held on Sunday, November 24. I was there for the silent auction where nine of your quilts raised a total of about $600 for this fine organization. To read more about the auction see
There are four items on eBay right now that you can bid on and get in time for Christmas. All proceeds go to either Leader Dogs For The Blind or Paws With A Cause. Visit my home page for pictures and links at or go directly to these quilts:

#32 Pigs & Pears by Vici Wilson and Beth Burke:

#33 Patchwork Potholders by Lynn Mala:

#34 Patchwork Tote Bag by Amy Smith-Moniz:

#37 "Home Is Where The Heart Is" Quilt by Nanette Zeller:

Warm hugs and many thanks to the following quilters who have so unselfishly given of their talents to create quilts for Leader Dogs For The Blind and Paws With A Cause. This month's honor roll includes:

Cindy Cornelius for #58 "Child's Play"

and #59 "Child's Play Too"

and #60 "Fishy PPQ"

and #61 "OTF Conversational

Lynn Mala and Doris Miller for #62 "Elephants Three

Lynn Mala for three adorable hats #63

Carla Schardt for #64 "Carla's Cozy"

and #65 "Look At All The Animals"

Ann Norman for #66 "Animals Everywhere" and an adorable pillow

Lane Thomas for #67 "Crazy Animals"

Eileen Doughty for #68 "Safari Meanderings"

Barb Jones for #69 "Two Chickens Chatting"

and for #70 "Shazam!"

Johanne Hagar for #71 "Doggone Cute"

If you'd like to help with this on-going effort, please visit

Thanks to Marlene for sharing this amazing quilt made by Lois Jarvis. You will want to click on the center of the quilt, made with photo-transfers of faces of some of the people who died in 9/11. Each time you click you will see greater and greater detail. See

OK, maybe not in the whole world, but here in Flint it's got to be the restaurant at the airport. Hard to believe, when most airports sell apples for a buck and a half a piece and you can't find a 50-cent candy bar for under $2, I've found the bargain of the century!

Personally, I think somebody goofed. I ordered a CUP of chili. Perhaps not the wisest thing should I encounter turbulence during the flight, and beans in close quarters is probably never a good idea, but it sounded good at the time. And a CUP, being smaller than a BOWL in restaurant lingo, was at least a somewhat cautious move. My chili came in a cup, all right. The guy ladled it out into a tall, narrow Styrofoam cup as if I'd ordered a medium Pepsi! I must have gotten 12 ounces of chili for a very modest $2.74 including tax! I had to stick my fist inside to get the spoon all the way to the bottom. Plus, I got a handful of free crackers. How's THAT for a bargain? See my chili at

I don't know what the actual numbers are, but I'd bet my last dollar that we don't have enough female architects. If we did, they'd have devised better public toilets for women. This is another airport story, but I swear it wasn't precipitated by the chili I mentioned above.

Detroit Metro, my hub of choice, has recently opened their new bazillion dollar terminal complete with elevated train, moving walkways, Internet café, shops galore, and a really awesome fountain that squirts water as if it's accompanying some silent symphony. Very cool. And they have ultra modern women's restrooms with automatic everything. Amazingly, they have even added an extra foot to the depth of each stall so that it is now possible to actually wheel your carry-on in there with you without hiking it up over the toilet or running over your own shoes.

BUT they have made the doors two feet taller, in case any WNBA players practicing their hook shots inside should accidentally spook the vertically challenged waiting their turn outside. I mean who really needs a 9-foot stall door?

Not only have they added a foot to the top, but they've added a foot to the bottom of each stall door too. That now makes it impossible for anyone in line to "check shoes." All women know what this means. It is the unspoken, but universally understood method for checking to see if the stall one wishes to enter is occupied.

Wee look like idiots. (Double EE intended.) Bladders full, we stand back a few feet, bend down like a giraffe about to drink out of a water hole on the planes of the Serengeti, and hope we can peer under the door without exploding. Or, we look like we're having a religious experience genuflecting at each stall door in turn until we find an empty one. Why do we do this?

Well, you can never count on a door ajar as a sign of emptiness. More often than not the lock is broken and the poor woman inside is trying to pee with one hand holding her clothing away from the filthy toilet and the other holding the door shut against the broken latch. One slight miscalculation and the hand holding the door can slip, ricocheting said door into the path of the unsuspecting "shoe checkers." (This is also why it's not a good idea to put your face up against either side of the door to see if the stall is occupied. Besides, this is very rude. Who wants to look up and see your eyeball in the door jam?) And knocking? Forget it. Five out of six women will sing "OCCUPIED" in response, but the sixth who is behind the door you're politely tapping on, has just taken a vow of silence.

So now with these gargantuan doors one has to practically belly-crawl like GI Joe to peek underneath. The only sure-fire way is to wait for someone to exit. Not that there's never a LINE, so I guess that was all part of the plan in the first place! We've put men on the moon and made computers the size of a gnat dropping. Why can't we devise a better way to tell if the stall is occupied?! Flags? Lights? C'mon ladies...we can do this!

If you're in the Seattle area on December 7, head over to Marsha McCloskey's Open House from 10 to 4 at Feathered Star Productions on 7001 3rd Ave NW. E-mail Marsha for directions at or call 206-782-0807.

Look out, Ankeny, IOWA here I come. I'll be popping in for a lecture and two workshops on December 10 and 11. For more information e-mail

On January 16-18, 2003 I'll be with the Palmetto Quilt Guild at Hilton Head Island, SC. For more information e-mail There's more....all the way to 2005. To see if I'll be in YOUR neck of the woods, please visit

Last month I spent a few days with the Quilters Unlimited of Tallahassee, Florida and in the workshop we came up with some great new ideas.

Kris' Twist Ella's Bars Ella's Window Panes Kris' Red Eye Twist Ami's Red Eye Variation Ami's Jogging Sisters Mary's Masterpiece The Pickelsimer Twist What's a Twisted Sisters?!

Whatever it is, I'll stick it in the next newsletter!

That's all for this month. Have a joyous holiday season and I'll see you next year! Ami Simms

Get this newsletter FREE!
Puppus Doggus BOM Starter Kit
My Third Boob
Magnetic Quilts
Raincoats by Phyllis Wells
Win Cool Stuff
Houston Quilt Festival
Half-Price Dining
Conversational Fabric Database
Picture Play Quilts
Nancy's Puppus Doggus
Melanie's Puppus Doggus
Joanna's Stash
Joanna's Tip
Great Idea For Guild Directories
Cute Guild Sign
Leader Dog Auction
#32 Pigs & Pears by Vici Wilson and Beth Burke
#33 Patchwork Potholders by Lynn Mala
#34 Patchwork Tote Bag by Amy Smith-Moniz
#37 "Home Is Where The Heart Is" Quilt by Nanette Zeller

New Charity Quilts
H#58 "Child's Play"
#60 Fishy PPQ
#61 OTF Conversational
#62 Elephants Three
#63 Hats
#64 Carla's Cozy
#65 Look At All The Animals
#66 Animals Everywhere
#67 Crazy Animals
#68 Safari Meanderings
#70 Shazam!
Please Help

Back to other stuff... 9-11 Tribute Quilt
Ami's Chili
Ami's Teaching Schedule
Kris's Twist
Ella's Bars
Ella's Window Panes
Kris' Red Eye Twist
Ami's Red Eye Variation
Ami's Jogging Sisters
Mary's Masterpiece
The Pickelsimer Twist
What's A Twisted Sisters??!