February 2007

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The Ami Simms Newsletter
February 2007
Copyright by Ami Simms

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Winter has finally arrived in Flint, Michigan and I hope it goes back to where it came from. No thanks. Where are all those teaching trips to the Bahamas anyway?

To celebrate plummeting temperatures into the teens, with a wind chill of "freeze your face off" Steve and I took Madison to the ice and snow sculptures in Frankenmuth one evening last week. It was so cold I actually had to wear a hat. I hate hats.

I will be going to Kansas City, Missouri next week, so if you happen to live in Missouri, or close by, come hear my lecture on February 8th called "Living With Quilts: A Survival Guide." I'll show you how to make a grilled cheese sandwich with your iron. There are also spaces in my Twisted Sisters workshop on Friday the 9th. No cooking tips. For more information consult my 2007 calendar.

Next month I'll be in Bristol, England, and in April come visit me and the Alzheimer's quilts in Paducah. More information is over in Lectures & Workshops.

Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece will be hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, February 22-25 in Hampton, Virginia. We are in need of White Glove volunteers to be with the quilts. If you will be attending, please volunteer a few hours to help if you can.

Featured Quilts is a new section to the web page. This month it features quilts made by Linda Cooper who is from Virginia, and quilts by Helen Marshall (New Zealand) and Georgia Bonesteel. They will both be teaching at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival.

Since January 2006 the AAQI has raised $50,373.70 for Alzheimer's research and more than 68,000 people have had a chance to see Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece. Of the amount above, more than $35,000 has come from the sale of Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts.

If you registered a Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt and haven't yet sent it in, we've got your number. We'd rather have your quilt. If you are the maker of these quilts, I need to hear from you: 224, 229, 304, 318, 394, 404, 417.

The February auction is in full swing. Please forward this link to everyone you know so they can outbid you. Wait, that didn't come out right. Wait a minute, yes it did. Remember, the entire winning bid goes to Alzheimer's research.

Little Treasures (quilts larger than the 9" x 12" Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts) will be going on the auction block on February 15th in case you didn't get the Valentine gift of your choice, you can give it to yourself. These are wonderful smaller quilts that are wall or small bed size.

I have the great pleasure of announcing the winner of the second Bernina aurora 440 sewing machine. Do you know how the winner won? She donated a Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt and when it was sold her name went into a hat and then I pulled it out. I have TWO more Berninas to award in 2007. You could be the next winner. It could happen.

Thinking of others is what quilters do. I've had numerous donations to the Alzheimer's Association come through the AAQI after a family member with the disease has passed away. If you would like to honor someone with a donation, write the check out to Alzheimer's Association. Write RESEARCH-AAQI on the memo line, and mail the check to me: Ami Simms / 4206 Sheraton Drive / Flint, MI 48532. I will hand deliver it to the local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association and will be happy to write a letter of condolence to the family if you provide the mailing address. Research gets more money to find a cure, your donation is tax deductible, you've expressed your condolences in a very special way, and the AAQI gets bragging rights. For more details, call: 1-800-278-4824.

Thank you, everyone, for your support in so many ways.

My Lily quilt, (a.k.a. The Green Monster) has been sitting in a laundry basket, ready for me to finish hand quilting, since July of 2001. No kidding. Always in the way, it got moved from sewing room to living room, and back again too may times to count. So I…(more)

I have some tools that might help:

Needles. These are my favorites. I can make small even stitches with them and they don't break or bend s easily as others I've tried over the years. Basting is a must, especially if you quilt in a hoop. I prefer thread-basting to pin- basting, it's easier on my fingers and I can sew over my basting. You'll need thread made for the job.

While I like to quilt "free-form" for most of my machine quilting, when I hand quilt I mark. These are the tools I use: washout cloth markers in pink, white, and blue. I have a special pencil sharpener for these wide-body pencils. And, I also use "spit" pens. (You don't sharpen those.) Sometimes I use the pink ones and sometimes the blue ones. Small nib or large. Depends on what I'm marking.

You can purchase all of my favorites this month in a special package and get a free gift.

Or, if you have no quilts to mark, just get something FUN.

I really want to like the All State spokesman on the TV commercial. He tells us about all the stupid things we drivers do that make us more prone to having accidents. Multi-tasking IS dangerous: putting on make-up, reading behind the wheel, eating, changing clothes! But so is standing in the middle of the road, fella! Mr. All-State needs to head over to the sidewalk, pronto, before one of those multi-tasking drivers mows him down.

And what's with the humongous chunks of garlic in the pasta at Olive Garden? Overkill, folks. It should be minced. Maybe they are mincing. They just have bigger cloves than the rest of us—they must be the size of footballs. After a bowl of Pasta Primavera, my breath is so bad the dog won't even kiss me!

I feel much better now. Thanks.

Hello everyone. Madison J. Dog here. Mom is correct about the garlic. Trust me.

Mom said that since so many of you enjoy my writing so much she's going to give me space for my own column every month. Apparently I have a unique perspective. (Smirk.)

I don't stay under the desk all the time. I go wherever Mom goes. I'm her dog. Dad made that very clear when I moved in and then about 20 minutes later he was in love with me too, so if Dad is doing something more fun, I follow him.

I need to be close to my humans at all times. It's a Golden Retriever thing. I'm usually about 4 and 1/2 feet away at all times. I sleep until I am needed. Sometimes I bark or run in my sleep but I try not to because I get laughed at.

If I am in the way (doorways, or in the direct path of an accelerating swivel chair, for example.) my people say "excuse me" and I jump up and get out of the way. I try to predict where my people are headed as soon as I jump up so I can lead them when they go to wherever it is they are going, except the basement because it's creepy. But I'm not very good at leading. I'm a much better follower. If you would like to be followed, just come on over. I will say up front that I will never stick my nose in your behind. I know other dogs that do this, but I am a gentleman.

This brings me to another misconception. I am a boy dog. I may have a "girlie" name, and I pee like a girl, and I look somewhat like a girl because of my leg and chest feathers, but believe me, I am all boy. At least I was until the Vet, well, you know. (This is a family newsletter.)

Oh, and I also smell like a girl. And I like it. When I have a bath Mom uses regular dog shampoo on just about all of me, but then she shampoos my head with Bath & Bodyworks shower gel because she likes to sniff my head. Currently I'm smelling like Strawberries and Pears.

That's it for this time. If you have any questions for next month, please email them to Mom. She'll forward them to me. Just hit reply to this email and put MADISON in the subject line. I'll go back under the desk now.

A handful of readers have noticed that I look different. Perhaps it’s the font, the spaces between the lines….or wait, my total make-over. In case you are fearful that you won't recognize me the next time we meet, I should disclose that back in the spring I got tired of my gray hair that made me look older, and I got tired of the round lenses that made me look like Harry Potter. I also received a sample tube of lip gloss as I strolled around the make-up counter at the mall and the rest, as they say, is history. (I even bought a pair of hip-hugging "bell bottoms" — at least that's what we called them in 1972.) Having said that, you should see my "before" and "after" pictures. If you're not interested in the transformation, perhaps you'll want to know how a standard office supply item maintains the illusion. Click here.

I rarely pass along scam warnings, and I never pass them along without checking them out. Here's one you should know about. In an attempt to steal your identity callers are posing as officers of the court telling people there is a warrant for their arrest for not showing up for jury duty. In trying to straighten out the "mix-up" the thieves bully the person on the other end of the line into revealing their social security numbers—exactly what they were after in the first place. Do NOT give your social security number out over the phone. Learn more.

"More Fat 8ths and Friends" is the name of Marsha McCloskey’s new little booklet of quilt patterns from In The Beginning Fabrics. It contains six new quilt patterns to go with the new fabric line – also called MORE Fat 8ths & Friends. The quilts are scrappy and make great use of the 30s and 40s reproductions prints in the fabric line. Both are available in quilt stores right now—and also on Marsha’s website.

The talented friend who illustrated my first three books, Jean Pajot Forrester, has another feather in her cap. One of her Li'l Tuffy coloring books, written back when she was Jean Pajot Smith, has a bit part in one scene of the new movie, The Pursuit of Happiness, starring Will Smith. Look for the red cover. The complete title is Li'l Tuffy and His Friends. It's in the scene when father and son are riding the subway and things are looking really grim. The little boy is reading Jean's book, Right there on the screen! Ok, maybe he's acting, but it's hard to tell.

NATIONAL QUILTNG DAY National Quilting Day is March 17, 2007. The National Quilting Association invites you to celebrate by participating in the " Happy Birth Day, Baby" project to donate a baby quilt for the first baby born on National Quilting Day in your local hospital. March 17 — there's plenty of time to whip up a cute little Irish Chain baby quilt and celebrate two holidays at once!

I learned a new quilting term from Sandy A. The term is SABLE. As in, "I'm SABLE." Or, "I'm a SABLE." One of those must be correct. It's an acronym that stands for Supplies Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy.

What are your thoughts about receiving an email NOTIFICATION that the newsletter is ready and reading it ONLINE? No emailed newsletter. Just curious. Tell me what you think. (Just not all at once.)

There are new additions to all these categories:

There's a new What Were They Thinking…just for Valentines Day. Watch Your Step has a new entry. Pat, Katie, and someone from somewhere in Nevada share their stashes. And Amy & Jack check in after vacationing in China.

Please do. Forward the ENTIRE thing to all your friends and even some of your enemies. Everybody enjoys a laugh or two. Please do NOT forward just part of it. Somehow my name gets dropped off when these things float through cyberspace and since I’m writing them for free, I should at least get credit for writing them. If you write a guild newsletter (real paper or online) and would like to “reprint” a particular part of the newsletter you must ask first. Here’s how. a>

Be good to each other and go sew something!
Ami Simms

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