December 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 Information may be outdated, irrelevant, misleading or incorrect.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?

So glad you double-clicked. I'm home from a pretty hectic travel schedule this fall have lots of news for you.

As you read this, I'm back on the road again for one last time this year. Not to worry, I'm just a hop, skip, and a jump away from home, up in Midland, Michigan taping a segment with Kaye Wood for her PBS series. Kaye and I will be playing around with my Twisted Sisters quilts. I'll be home for dinner. Honest. Maybe even a late lunch.

Look for my segment to air some time in 2004. How's THAT for getting specific?

The big news is that my "Pie a la Mode" fabric is due in any day now. Yipeee! Many of you ordered as soon as I put it on the web page, but I ordered lots so we shouldn't run out this time! Don't forget, there is a free pattern for Pie a la Mode Placemats at and…

Those of you who came to Quilt Market got a sneak preview of my newest creation: American Pies. They're life-size soft-sculptured pies. And, because of the fabric, they look amazingly real. They come in three creamy varieties (Banana Cream, Chocolate Cream, and Key Lime) plus five fruity flavors (Strawberry, Blueberry, Apple, Cherry, and Banana). Are you getting hungry? No problem. They're very high in fiber (100% cotton will do that) and absolutely no calories.

So what do you DO with them? There are so many uses! First, it's fiber art. American Pies look so realistic people just won’t believe it. Pop one on your holiday table; it'll look terrific. Give it as a house-warming present or as a thank-you for a special hostess. It's weighted with those plastic pellets so it feels real too! You'll get a double take for sure.

Second, it's a gargantuan pincushion. Aren't you tired of losing yours under layers of fabric in your sewing room? (OK, you COULD clean it all up, but where's the fun in that?) American Pies are a 10" diameter quilt in the shaped of a pie (with the fluted edges, I might add) that has a "flange" underneath. The flange has a casing on the outer edge that holds elastic so the whole quilt can be stretched over a real 9" metal pie pan. You could probably park 1,000 pins in your pie!

Third, it's a "pie safe." Not the piece of furniture with shelves that holds pies, it's a "safe" made out of a pie. Lift the pie up and peel it off the pie pan and you've got the whole inside of the pie pan to hide spare keys, extra cash, or your good scissors so the rest of the family won't use them to trim the Christmas tree! Who is going to look inside a pie for goodness sakes!

And, finally, it's a portable toolbox for your quilting supplies. Next time you have to tote them to a workshop, pack them in your pie! I just fit in a rotary cutter, extra blades, small scissors, tape measure, 6" ruler, seam ripper, needles, thimble, sewing machine needles, and 6 spools of thread! And I've got room to spare!

It's the voices. I hear them all the time. Sometimes they actually make sense! Go ahead; check out the American Pies at

Madison and I were doing our regular morning walk the other day up to the Movie Theater and back. The far end of the movie theater parking lot sits next to the old State Police building. The old VACANT State Police Building. It's sitting there with a great big parking lot, a freeway exit within spitting distance, a storage garage, and everybody knows where it is. I think somebody should open up a quilt shop.

I'm not going to do it, (repeat: NOT, as in NO WAY, NOT ME) but somebody else sure can. I just want a free yard of fabric for the idea. First of all you could walk to work, if you lived near me, that is. And you could bring your dog, if you had one, because there's a fence pretty much all the way around the whole property. Plus there's a real live JAIL inside. With bars and everything. Talk about your quilt police…

Thank you for the wonderful suggestions. I'm just 11 and a half months away from the big ?-0 mark. Special thanks to those who thought it was just 4-0. For the ones who thought it was the big 6-0, may all your threads knot, and may all the knots you put in your threads fall off inside your quilts. (Just kidding.) I'm really OK with this. Age is all in your head anyway, and I'm about the most immature person I know! Wait, that came out wrong…

Anyway, you came up with really great ideas! Here is a sampling. There were "indulgent" suggestions: the full spa treatment, hot air balloon ride, mega quilt shop hop, maid for day. There were "humanitarian" suggestions: volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, or work the local soup kitchen. There were "warm and fuzzy" suggestions: have a party for all my friends and tell them how special they are to me. There were "lukewarm but still somewhat fuzzy" suggestions: BLACKMAIL everyone into sending a donation to my favorite charity in the amount of my age. There were a few "unusual" suggestions: have lunch with Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and/or Mel Gibson; go to Iceland (!), or bike around Iowa. This last one included an overnight with Judy Martin and "all the quitters" either cheering me on or biking with me! And the last suggestion fit the "unusual and perhaps slightly kinky" suggestion: go to Payless and get cheap pink or red spike heels, go to Wal-Mart and get a black mini-skirt and low-cut top, and go see Russell Crowe's new swashbuckling flick with my quilting buddies similarly attired. (Sorry, did that last week.)

Thanks for the great ideas!

Several charity quilts you've made were included in this year's silent auction at Lead in the Holidays, benefiting Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester, Michigan. This event was held on November 23. One quilt, Max's Nightmare, made entirely of orphaned or donated Puppus Doggus blocks did extremely well at the live auction bringing in $1800 for the doggies. You can see this quilt at

Thank you all for the good works that you do. The money raised will help in a most profound way.

Donations of blocks, bucks, or both this month include: Lee Daniledes, and the maker(s?) of two anonymous but very adorable Puppus Doggus blocks. Thanks also to Wendy Gateke and Kathleen Watson for tops or blocks from either their stash or mine. I'll be bringing these with me to Erie, PA in January, looking for a kind soul to finish them up.

I've just put up 6 more quilts on for your generous bidding. Please see In case you need a vanity license plate that says QUILT….I put one of those up there too.

You should already have received your December installment for the Dog-Yeared Mystery Block of the Month Calendar Quilt. (If you have not, clean out your email box and email Debbie at The final installment on how to set the quilt together was supposed to be delivered on January 1st. I'm thinking it might be slightly delayed as I need to actually finish MY quilt first and I'd rather not have to rush through it. How about February 1st? I'm hoping that's OK with everybody.

I hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving! I'm stuffed. Mom and I surprised Uncle Bud for Thanksgiving dinner in Florida. In addition to a wonderful meal, we witnessed a monarch butterfly release, helped out at the book signing, and took a short day cruise with the celebrated author aboard the Palm Beach Princess. See

Yes, copies of Uncle Bud's new book are still available. Please see

Stuffed WHAT? Stuffed PENS! If you're looking for a super fast and easy little gift this holiday season, try stuffing a pen. See

Our chiropractor is also a quilter. Sadly, he moved to a different state several years ago. Happily, we get the best emails from him. So, without further introduction, here is a portion of the Lance and Candy Myler Family Email this month on why callers might be getting the answering machine. Last July, I got Candy two yellow cockatiels. I was afraid that she would be lonely, what with all of the kids in school all day. With work, cockatiels can be taught to talk. She set to work right away, and before long they started greeting me with the cutest "’morning, Doctor" you can imagine. Josh started in on The Mexican Hat Dance, and Candy is working on "Love you," Night, night," and the Hallelujah Chorus. Her next plan is "Don’t whine," a common phrase indeed.

That would all be fine, having two little cheerful yellow birds singing when the sun comes out, and saying cute little phrases. But could they leave it at that? No, they could not. The bleeping little birds have started picking up other common household sounds. Like the doorbell. And the timer we use to know when the patient’s ice is finished. And the dryer. And the "please leave your message after the tone" tone. And the microwave. And DON’T forget the best of all – the phone.

So now, they sit in their cage singing away. Do we get a song? NO! We get a string of electronic bleeps, rings, and buzzes. Now when the phone rings, it is not enough to wonder if it is the home or business line. You have to listen twice, to know if it is the phone or the bird! Since you only get four rings before the machine kicks in, and the bird costs you two, you really have to run. So if you get the answering machine next time you call, you can blame the bleeping birds.

This month's winner will receive a really beautiful sterling silver charm bracelet from Suzanne Hayes and The bracelet features a heavyweight 7-inch double-chain link, with a lobster claw catch and seven special charms: thimble, button, singer-style machine, stork embroidery scissors, "Double Wedding Ring" and "Lily of the Valley" block charms, and a mini-quilt charm. The charms are three-dimensional, and finely detailed. The retail value of this prize is $82. Go ahead and enter at:

After you enter, head over to to see their entire collection charms, pins, bracelets, and more. My suggestion? Print off a few choice pages and highlight the pertinent items. Then leave them scattered around the house so your significant other will "get the hint."

Jodie Davis hosts a new television show called "Friends in the Bee" premiering on Fridays this January on the PAX channel. Instead of being stuck in a studio she's out on the road bee-bopping across the country and around the world taking us back-stage and behind the scenes to some fascinating places. It's all celebrating the lifestyle of quilting, seeing things through the eyes of a quilter. I can't wait. Visit and click on the camera to see a video teaser and learn more about the show.

Every year The Professional Quilter recognizes an outstanding teacher. Nominations for the 18th Teacher of the Year award are being accepted now at . (One of their previous winners was nominated by a member of this list!) Hurry up: the deadline for nominations is Dec. 6.

They're called Omnigrab and they just came out at Market. Very cool! The color of the markings have changed from yellow to bright green. It almost looks like the lines have been highlighted. Very easy to read. But, best of all, the "highlighting" has a special non-skid property. The rulers slide when you want them to slide, and they STICK when you want to cut. How cool is THAT? Head over to your local quilt shop. They've got new sizes too! What will they think of next?!

See Carolyn Maruggi's Pizza Hot Pad at See
See Donna Ross' Twisted Sisters at:

Betty Bethke wonders about the BUST STOP. See

I still have a few fabric packs of gray and black fabric left. I just put them on sale. We need the shelf space. See

The first 10 people who order a "Hold The Anchovies" Kit online get the pattern (and the magazine it's in) for FREE. Purple Kit or Blue Kit. You pick. See

This is LIKE a sale. The Party Packs are back. If you want to whip up some quick gifts this month, try Photo-Coasters. You can get 6 per pack, or really save with the just reintroduced Party Packs. See

I've mentioned this group before, but it bears repeating, especially at this time of year. Quilting Angels is a non-profit children's charity that lovingly creates quilts for children with critical or life-long illnesses. The quilts are pieced together block-by-block by the hands of our special Angels. The effort to be involved is very minimal with quilters creating only one block (or more if you so choose!). The impact a 12" x 12" square has on a child in need of a smile is huge! Please visit Wrapping God's Sick Children In Love

Thank you for reading all the way to the bottom. Since I won't see you again until NEXT YEAR, I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday season. Enjoy your family and friends. Put a few stitches in a quilt or two, and try to relax. Be happy!

Ami Simms

Thanksgiving with Uncle Bud
FREE Pie Placemat Pattern
American Pie
$1800 Quilt
Bid On Quilts
Thanksgiving with Uncle Bud
Uncle Bud's Book
Stuffed Pens
Win Cool Stuff Quilting Angels
So Very Charming
New Quilt Show on TV
Teacher of the Year Nominations
Carolyn Maruggi's Pizza Hotpad
Donna Ross' Twisted Sisters
Black/Gray Fabric on Sale
First 10 Orders…
Party Packs

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