January 2008

January 2008
The Ami Simms Newsletter
January 2008
Copyright by Ami Simms

It's a beautiful, snowy day here in Michigan….unless it takes me longer than I think to send out this newsletter, in which case it's a dreary snowy night here in Michigan!

I hope everyone enjoyed their families during the holidays and wish you all a healthy and happy 2008! The New Year is always a time for retrospection, for planning, and for change. It keeps us on our toes. Speaking of change…

Tomorrow I will file Articles of Incorporation with the state of Michigan to begin to make the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative a nonprofit charity. It's a huge and frightening step, but one that will allow the AAQI to keep growing and giving.

I will be the Executive Director supported by a Board of Directors who I will be delighted to introduce to you on our new web page, which will be opening soon. As soon as the website is operational, I will send out a special announcement newsletter.

During this transition time I have had to suspend quilt registrations and auctions. There are too many other things that need to be put into place before we can get up to speed with those. I'm hoping that we'll be ready February 1st for quilt auctions, slightly sooner for quilt registrations.

While I will give short updates in this newsletter, weekly updates are available through the AAQI UPDATE Newsletter. This is a totally free, announcement type newsletter (nobody posts but me) so you won't be inundated with emails, just one every Wednesday. Please sign up below to receive the UPDATE.

Subscribe to the AAQI Newsletter
Powered by groups.yahoo.com

Your email address will not be shared, sold, traded, given away, bartered, or pawned. Thanks for your patience as we re-organize.

Hello, Madison T. Dog here with my monthly report. I am enjoying the snow this morning too. When Mom let me out I danced around in circles until I almost fell over. I wish she had the video camera going when I realized the whole lawn was covered in snow.

We had a terrific holiday. Jennie came home and left and then we went there and came home and then Jennie came home and we all left again and came back. Dogs adore comings and goings and greetings. We're not crazy about good-byes but adventures and returning loved ones are what make life so sweet.

Note to self: Next year I need to remember that crunchy and colorful package decorations tantalizingly displayed at the base of living room trees (real or pretend) must not be presented to Mommy for hugs. She was highly unappreciative and I got a lecture on how presents are not to be moved, sniffed, bumped, adorned with the tiniest bit of slobber, or any part of them removed from the tree area. Sorry Mom. I just thought you wanted one. That's why I just plucked it off that package and handed it to you. At least I wasn't shaking boxes when Daddy wasn’t around, or trying to discern their contents by repeatedly banging into them with the vacuum cleaner LIKE SOME PEOPLE…

Dad got an iPod for Christmas. I helped load all of his favorite songs on it.

Mom got a really cool toy for the car from Santa. It's a little box with a lady inside who talks to her and tells her when to turn. This could speed up things considerably. It actually has 27 ladies inside and each one talks in a different language. We found this out while Mom was playing with it in the car. (Dad was driving.) Mom had the Italian lady and a German lady telling Dad where to go. Mom and Dad laughed a lot. I only speak dog, so I was not amused. My limited English vocabulary was not the least bit helpful either. Nothing any of them said anything that remotely sounded like "Good Dog!" What a disappointment.

I bought Mom and Jennie each a very cool gift, as seen on TV. They sure are slick. They're called Roll-A-Lotion Applicators.

It is a special wand that dispenses lotion on to the backs of humans whose arms are not long enough to reach up between their shoulder blades. Mom and Jen are forever whining about how dry their skin gets and how itchy their backs are. Well, this lotion applicator has put a stop to that. It has little plastic balls that roll in the lotion and then roll on your back, or wherever you want to roll it. After Mom does her back, she takes off the handle and rubs it everywhere else. She says it puts a good amount of lotion on without it getting too goopy. She LOVES her Roll-A-Lotion Applicator. So does Jennie.

I got a lot of dog cookies, some toys to chew, some more dog cookies, and a gift card to PetSmart. Mom is gonna let me go pick out my own gift. I've done this before. She lets me smell anything I want (except other the other shoppers and their people) and I get to have any toy in which I show Special Interest. Once mom takes it off the shelf for me I have to carry it to the check-out line and put it on the conveyor belt. Then I have to hand the gift card to the clerk. I'm supposed to put my two front paws on the counter when Mom says "counter" and drop the card into their hand, but once when we were training for Service Dog stuff I thought for sure she said UP UP, instead of COUNTER so instead of putting my two front paws on the counter to hand over the card I put all FOUR paws up there. The clerk, was a tad surprised and jumped back about 12 feet. I suppose 70 pounds of Golden Retriever suddenly appearing a few inches from your face can be a bit of a shock.

Since several readers have been confused as to when I stop reporting and turn in over to Mom, I thought I'd say I'm done now. Mom's going to write the rest of the newsletter, but I'm resting my head on her shoes for inspiration.

Madison wanted to remind me to tell you that now would be a great time to buy the Dog-Yeared Calendar Quilt pattern on CD. Each month you'll machine (or hand) applique an adorable pooch doing something relating to that month, with seasonal fabric in the background. Each block can be finished into a small 10" x 10" wall hanging, or put all the blocks together into a quilt. You'll get full-sized patterns, completely illustrated instructions, and a BONE-US fire hydrant pattern for the back of the quilt. Not only is it a great quilt to make, the pattern is on sale now . Order yours today!

The Illini Country Stitchers made a raffle quilt using my Dog-Yeared Calendar Quilt pattern.

For those of you in warm Arizona don't forget that I'll be teaching at Quilting In The Desert January 20-23. I'll also be presenting a Twisted Sisters workshop in Grand Rapids, Michigan on February 2, and later in February I'll be visiting with quilters in Ankeny, Iowa.

Check here to see if I'm coming to teach in your area.

In their new book, Piecing the Piece O' Cake Way, Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins show you the fundamentals of machine piecing. Whether you are a beginner or a more experienced piecer, this book is a winner! The spiral-bound book is full of close-up photos and clear, precise instructions. There are 15 skill-building projects and 27 quilts to make. Many projects are shown in multiple colors to help you with your own color choices. Becky and Linda take you from simple strip-quilts to diamonds and curves. They teach you the skills you will use in every quilt you make. Be a better quilter with Piecing the Piece O' Cake way! Click here for information and to order.

Barbara Webster has a beautiful new book out called "Designing Photoquilts With CorelDraw®." In it she teaches you how to use CorelDraw® to design quilts with transferred images (paintings, photographs, drawings, etc.) on fabric. Even if CorelDraw isn't a big draw for you, you'll enjoy all the ways Barbara has come up with to use manipulated imagery on fabric. The gallery of quilts is amazing. For more information and to order, click here.

Jane Hall's son (Michael Hall) did a fantastic slide show about the International Quilt Festival in Houston.

When I was a kid I thought pomegranates were tasty, but ridiculous. I mean, spitting out all those little seeds was a chose. Who knew you could EAT the seeds?! I didn't, until my friend from Houston put them in a salad. Wow! Crunchy (my favorite of textures) AND delicious! Talk about your fiber…nature's little scrub brush.

My friend also threw in strawberries, avocado, and a delightful vinaigrette. I have made my own lazy version of this for some time now and recently decided that I could cut down on the preparation time by doing without the lettuce, at least most of it. They just hide the good parts.

So, here's my recommendation for a winter treat: Cube up half an avocado, dice up a large handful of strawberries, throw in a lot of pomegranate "thingies," squirt in some lemon or lime juice (fresh only, we have our standards), and add red wine vinegar and olive oil to taste.

Have you gotten your hands on a Bobbin Saver? This is one of my most favorite quilting tools. It works, it's handy, and it saves you time over any of the alternatives I've seen yet. Try it; you'll like it!

A newsletter reader sent in the link to this video. Each frame/sound is a "clip" edited together with other clips (many repeated) to make the music. Obviously made by someone with way too much time on their hands! Enjoy!

I went shopping yesterday at the outlet mall and spent an inordinate amount of time hunting for bargains. We have a Coldwater Creek outlet store which is way fun and just about everything was on sale from 50% to 70% off, which is the only way I like to shop.

I found one, lone, purple, quilted, reversible, lime green silk on one side / purple velvet on the other (with BEADS) jacket that was reduced, red-dotted, slashed, and marked down from $99…..to only $9.54 and that included sales tax! AND, it fit!

The tag said it was a "4 petite" which was a BIG laugh. I'm 5 feet, 8 inches and I couldn't squeeze into a 4 anything even with a shoe horn and half a can of Crisco! Obviously it was mislabeled, but it might have been a petite because looking at it more closely (as I am wearing it) it would probably be even MORE attractive if I could roll the sleeves to expose the lime green "other side." Oh well. The lime green binding is enough "zing" against the wrists of my orangutan-like arms.

It has a nice weight to it. Feels solid. And it feels fun petting the velvet, except that the nap goes in the down direction everywhere except on the left arm, where the nap goes up. What's with THAT? I didn't think that made any difference until I put on my coat and hit the grocery store. I know, not too many people wear beaded velvet under a ski parka, but I wasn't going to take off the coat and nobody would see. I felt so special picking the brown leaves off the romaine before I set it in my cart, knowing that I was wearing the bargain of the century. As I shopped, however I noticed that my arms were becoming constricted. I could hardly bend at the elbows and the sleeves were unbearable tight. Mighty uncomfortable, especially as I could feel a hot flash approaching. By time I hit the check-out lane I could barely use my arms to hoist the contents of my basket onto the conveyor belt! I peeled off the parka, looked down, and saw both sleeves of my new reversible, velvet, lime green and purple jacket totally corkscrewed! The left arm was twisted clockwise and the right arm was counterclockwise! All I can figure is that the velvet is allergic to polyester! Can anybody shed some light on this mystery?

Darlene Palmer made her granddaughter a Picture Play Quilt!

There's a new photo up on the What Were They THINKING page.

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.

Make 2008 a great year!
Ami Simms