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The Ami Simms Newsletter
February 2001

Gee, I'm glad you're here. One of my most fun things is to write this newsletter and when you're kind enough to read it, well that just makes it all worthwhile. Please pass it along to your friends (or enemies) and tell them all they need to do to get one of their very own is email me at amisimms@aol.com and ask. (Tell them it’s $400 a year for a subscription, but if they e-mail NOW, it’s FREE. But wait, there’s more….)

I've just awarded the door prize of three Olfa cutters. Did you win? Only one way to find out. You've got to go check. Where? The new web page, of course!

About 5 months ago it hit me. My domain name (the “www” thing) is stupid. Yes, my publishing company is Mallery Press, but I’m Ami Simms. My web page should be www.MalleryPress.com.

That revelation complete, I quickly registered the name --- like I have to worry that there are half a million Ami Simms’s out there wanting my www. (Paranoia sets in fast. I even worried that one of them would get there first, having had their revelation 30 seconds before I had mine. They’d buy up MY domain name and hold it hostage until I coughed up many thousands of dollars to buy it from them.)

Well, it’s MY domain name now, buckaroo! I was a little too quick with the fingers and accidentally registered the name for 40 years. (OK, not really, but pretty darn close.) You can get into serious trouble clicking OK before reading all the words on the web page, not to mention the small print. At $35 a year, I learned I have a higher limit on my charge card than I thought! Apparently many people click then read. The nice lady who answered the phone after I threw the first semester of Jennie’s college tuition at the new domain name said she’d fix my boo-boo and she did. It only took 4 months to get the charge off my credit card, but hey, I’ve got a new domain name. (Did I mention it’s www.MalleryPress.com? And yes, through the magic of cyberspace you can also get there from www.MalleryPress.com. And, some day soon, you will also be able to get there through www.PicturePlayQuilts.com also.)

Shortly after my revelation I realized I’m not doing enough in my life. I was wasting way too much time sleeping, so I decided I’d set up and run my own web page. Knowing nothing about making web pages, this seemed reasonable. My friend Jim, over at Surgeon’s Skin Secret (www.jamarklabs.com) said he didn’t know anything either when he started. He signed up for a “store” on Yahoo.com and his pages looked pretty snazzy, so I signed up too. How hard could it be? Yahoo even has a 24-hour emergency help line for yahoos who can’t figure it out.

Apparently Jim is way smarter than I gave him credit for. I quickly learned that “html” stands for Hard To Master Language for creating web pages. And, the help line is NOT toll free. From my recent phone bill, I’ve deduced they’re in Borneo bedsides.

I realized I must be calling a lot since I can recognize the voices of the people working the help desk and greet them by name. This is indeed frightening since I am tone deaf and can’t recognize voices of people near and dear to me on the phone unless I am given contextual clues like “Hi, Mom.” (Thank goodness we only have one child.)

Zach, Sam, Morgan, and Steve have been most helpful, even if they speak Techno-Babble and not Quilt. They’ve helped me out of numerous jams including the time I created a navigation button four pages long and accidentally changed the color of the entire web page to acid green with red text. (That’s all fixed now.)

Not to worry. www.MalleryPress.com is up and running and since February 7, when I accidentally hit the “I Want The Page To Go Live Now” button, it’s gotten over 3,863 hits. Not ALL of those are from me visiting trying to fix stuff. In fact, the first person that actually ordered something from the page had seen me on Kaye Wood’s show doing the Picture Play Quilts lesson and INTUITIVELY figured my web page MUST be named www.MalleryPress.com. See, it was worth it!

I’ll let you know periodically when I add cool stuff to the page, like Mom’s new fabric line, an assortment of LIGHT conversational fabrics, and…

… the ADULT FABRIC SWAP. Several students in my on-line PPQ workshop remarked that they were having so much fun making quilts for kids that they would like to start collecting fabric of interest to grown-ups. If you’re interested too, check out (let me mention it AGAIN) www.MalleryPress.com and click on Picture Play Quilts. You’ll be able to find the fabric swaps from there.

Did you win the door prize from last month? I’ve already picked the winner. You’ll have to head over to the new web page and take a look. While you’re the re, sign up for the NEW prize.

What is it? S.E.X. That's right, it's a Stash Enhancing eXperience. We’re talking 42 yards of fabric here. You’ll want to get your name in for this prize! (Several times.) Go take a look: www.MalleryPress.com. Click on WIN COOL STUFF!

Are you still in a winning mood? My friend Lucy Fazely designs quilts for many of the fabric manufacturers and I used to think she was sane. Until now. She's decided to GIVE AWAY some of her smaller quilts and projects and you've got a chance to nab them up if you enter her monthly drawings. Go to www.lucyfazely.com to enter a drawing to win one of the monthly prizes. If you're not the monthly winner, take heart, you could have your name pulled and put into a hat to win the grand prize, her "Under the Sea" quilt. And that's nothing to sneeze at, let me tell you.

Thanks to Jill W. We have an update on the breast cancer site I mentioned last month. I was wrong. You CAN click more than once in your lifetime. In fact, you can click once a day....and you probably should as it takes 45,000 clicks to donate ONE mammogram!

They say that they generate enough clicks to donate an average of 1.3 mammograms per day. Hey, that's better than nothing. Keep clicking.

Thanks to Susan B., I've learned of a place to send your old dead rotary cutter blades for a new lease on life. Actually, your old blades will live in somebody else's rotary cutter and you'll get theirs, but for a nominal fee you get sharp blades that have been pre-owned but are nice and sharp and good as new. Imagine, what if you got Jinny Beyer's old blades. Or Michael James' or...see isn't it fun to wonder? I think the whole thing is pretty cool, don't you? Want to learn more? Visit the L.P. Sharp Company at www.houseofhanson.com/lpsharp.html or email Tom Stevens at lpsharp@emily.net.

Peg in Indiana wrote to tell me of a suggestion she picked up somewhere. She says to just poke a hole in the top of an old prescription bottle and push old needles and pins thru the hole. When it gets full, throw it away. (Quick, somebody let me know if there is a place to recycle old needles!)

If you're a fan of that funny fellow named "Popser" who writes about his wife's "addiction" to sewing and quilting, you'll love two new books recently published by Open Chain Publishing. They are: "A Year in the Life: 12 Months of Sewing" and "52 Weeks of Quilting." The stories are about quilting and sewing and discovery and accomplishment, seen through the eyes of a husband who obviously really loves his wife. And she, being much like you and I, is infinitely worthy of such affection. I caught myself laughing out loud. Several times. About 3 paragraphs into the book you wish these two were your best friends. Visit www.popser.com to see what all the fun is about. You can follow the links to order copies for yourself and your friends via telephone, fax, or snail mail.

If you're looking for a children's storybook about quilts, this one is charming. Shota and the Star Quilt is written in both English and Lakota, a dialect of the peoples of the Great Sioux Nation. Skip the Lakota---unless you know the language, you'll tire of pretending you can even pronounce the words after about half a sentence---and jump into the story that tells of the triumph of love and friendship over power and greed. The illustrations are rich and very "quilty" and you'll enjoy reading this tale of cross-cultural quilting to a young child or grandchild. This lovely book is available in the US, Canada, and UK at bookstores nationwide, from the amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and borders.com, or by calling Independent Publishers Group 800-888-4741. (This toll free number works in Canada also.) Hardcover ($14.95), Paperback in May 2001 ($7.95).

When was the last time your quilt was out of the house? During this dreary winter we're having, why not plan a vacation for your textiles. Someplace exotic. Send your quilt on the road. The Knitting & Stitching Show is looking for entries. Here's a perfect opportunity for a "foreign exchange" adventure. Send your quilt to London, or Dublin, or Harrogate. (I don't really know where that one is on my mental map, but hey, why not?!) Don't want to send your baby away from home all by itself? You could always HAND DELIVER IT! See how quilters on the other side of the pond do things by tuning into www.twistedthread.com.

Looking for someplace a little closer to home? Ricky Tims' Rocky Mountain Quilt Retreat, "The Most Enchanting Quilter Retreat Ever" is scheduled for October 21-28, 2001. This one-of-a-kind retreat, limited to only 25 participants, will be held in Glen Eyrie Castle near Colorado, Springs. Go to http://www.taqstudio.com/ for all the details. Imagine: quilting in a castle. (I could get used to that!)

Hi, Mom!
Gosh, life is swell. My people are giving me more and more responsibility. Any time now and I’m going to be able to take myself for a walk. I’ve even been working in the office trying to help out. Now that I can jump up and reach the counters, I can help lots more….

Read about Daisy’s Adventures at www.MalleryPress.com and click PUPPY. Then click February 2001 for the most recent letter home.

I'll be visiting Keller, Texas on March 20 to give a workshop and a lecture for the Bear Creek Quilt Guild. More information is on my web page along with information on future visits to Indiana, Texas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and a slew of other places.

As always, thank you for tuning in. (It was getting lonely and kind of dark sitting her inside your mailbox.)

Have a great quilting day,
Ami Simms