June 2004

Note: This newsletter was e-mailed on June 1, 2004. Please scroll down to the bottom for the active links. If you would like to receive this newsletter in your very own mailbox, instead of reading it here, hit the BACK arrow on your browser and enter your e-mail address in the box on the previous page. You'll get the July issue.

Copyright by Ami Simms
JUNE 1, 2004

Hello everyone! I hope spring is treating you well. We're going to buy a boat for the backyard, now nicknamed "Lake Simms." Yeah, it's been raining. A lot. During a recent trip out of town in April the power went down. With Jennie and I gone, that left Steve to hook up our huge generator (it powers one light upstairs, one light downstairs, and the sump pump). Madison decided to become afraid of generators and anything having to do with generators, like thunder, lightening, loud noises, darkness, rain, moisture, and puddles. With patience and lots of babying he no longer shakes or quivers uncontrollably when it starts to storm. He just pants incessantly. His preferred panting position is within an inch or two of my ear. Or Steve's ear. He goes from one to the other. It's like a little kid wanting to whisper a secret. "he, he, he, he, hee…" Either that or he's taking his certification to instruct Lamaze classes. (Cleansing breath: repeat!)

At night he paces and pants. Imagine: a dog who can multi-task. And it's so handy that Steve and I are in such close proximity, sleeping. He hardly has to pace very far to exhale on us. I made the mistake of inviting the poor puppy into bed. (He was so frightened.) Not a good move. Madison is 85 pounds and we've got a double bed. I almost lost Steve off the other side with the bounce alone. By time Madison settled into a good position we were both hanging on to the sides of the mattress with our fingernails. (Mattie was, on the other hand, quite comfortable.)

Steve was NOT pleased. Especially since Madison so enjoyed the experience he decided to visit Steve on the bed several nights later before I had come upstairs. Madison not only neglected to warn Steve that he was coming, but landed squarely on his chest. New Rule: Madison can come up on the bed by invitation only, when Daddy is not in the bed, and when Mommy plans to change the sheets anyway.

That was back at the beginning of April. Well, I've finally gotten the "What's Up With Ami" webpage completed. See

SO WHAT WAS THE BIG NEWS? I did threaten some big news in the last newsletter, remember? Well, here it is: I was invited to the White House for a reception with the First Lady! And to a reception at the State Department hosted by Secretary of State and Mrs. Colin Powell. Let me tell you, THAT was pretty exciting! I've been name-dropping every chance I get since the invitations came. "Hello, Gourmet Wok? I'd like a quart of Beef & Broccoli, Fried Rice, some Moo Goo Guy Pan, and I'm going to the White House!"

For the full details, with pictures, see

My friend, Louise, took me to Pho95 Restaurant in Arlington for authentic Vietnamese noodle soup. I believe that's all they serve is soup. Huge steaming bowls of it. Delicious, with locations in Falls Church, Herndon, Langley Park, Rockville and two places in Philadelphia too. Mmmm, good! BUT, read the menu descriptions carefully or you could wind up with some strange internal organ type stuff in your soup. Honest.

My Rag Fur Jacket pattern is on the way to being almost finished. The photo shoot is June 14, and I'm excited as I can be. I've been wearing my own adaptation of this jacket for years. Originally designed by Mary Cardin, I bought the rights to the design several years ago. I've been threatening for a long time to finally re-do the pattern and publish it. When I was offered the chance to do a segment for Quilter's Toolbox that was the push I needed to get rolling. The pattern is totally re-designed. Instead of a kimono style one-piece pattern that tended to fall off my shoulders in the back, this baby actually fits now. It features real pattern pieces printed on tissue paper, like a "store-bought" pattern. The fringe is fuller, like I've been making my own jackets, and the it's much easier to cut since I discovered Fiskars School, Office & Craft Scissors. WOW! See the jacket and the scissors at:

My intrepid pattern testers will be completing their task this week. I expect to have the pattern ready by August, with pre-publication sales starting July 1. See

Madison and I are going to camp. Mind you, my idea of camping is a bad motel, but I really think this is going to be fun. It's called Camp Dog Scout and Madison is so excited his tail hasn't stopped wagging since I told him. Come to St. Helens, Michigan and join us! (I understand it's "rustic.") There are more openings for the July session (July 12-17) so if you want to join us, give them a call: 989 389-2000. Ask for Lonnie or email her at lonnie@dogscouts.com. For more details, see

I was without my camera for this one, but I swear that's what the sign said. I almost drove off the road. The questions is: are they selling very large children, or maybe must lots of little ones. Hard to tell.

There is another entry in the What Were They Thinking category from my trip to Hawaii. See:

We've got a new pattern going out with all Mallery Press orders this month called High Stepping Stars. It's another sweet little (43" x 43") quilt designed by Susan Fuquay. Twelve dark stars and thirteen light stars cavort on a neutral background, framed by two borders. We'll pop one in with every order this month. It's a cutie.

We've been inundated with "Pie in the Sky Starter Kits." Thanks to Judy and Debbie, we're keeping up nicely. It you haven't seen the July issue of McCall's Quick Quilts, do take a peek. You can order a nice little assortment (enough to make the pie parts in the quilt) for only $6.49 and that includes shipping. See:

Elsie Campbell has a new book out called Winning Stitches. Leafing through I learned a new way to quilt through intersections. Very cool. See page 35. Winning Stitches is 119 pages and sells for $28.95 See: (Tell Elsie I said hi.)

Our online "store" is through Yahoo Merchants and they have a confusing and irritating way of selling things in less than whole numbers, i.e. yardage. Fractions are just way too confusing. In the past, we've limited the sale of yardage to full yard increments. Which is not fun if you need more than one yard, but less than two, for example. So, to make like a little easier, here's what you can do:

1. Call in your order at 1-800-278-4824. You can call 24/7. Just leave a detailed message including bill to/ship to and credit card information, phone, and email address. Order any amount, down to 1/4 yard.

2. Fax us your order (same info) to (810) 230-1516. It's a dedicated fax line and you can call any time of the day or night. Order any amount, down to 1/4 yard.

3. Print off your on-line order (instead of completing the sale online) and mail it with a check or money order. Order any amount, down to 1/4 yard. Write in the blanks exactly what you need.

4. Order on-line and just write in the amount of yardage you REALLY want in the COMMENT section. We'll update the Yahoo order at this end so that you're charged the correct amount for the exact yardage you need. For this method, you need to order at least one full yard. Why? Because we pay a percentage of our sales to Yahoo for running the store. If you order 1 and 1/2 yards, but only put down 1 yard on your order and "write in" the extra 1/2 yard in the comment section we have to go into our Yahoo account and make sure they get their full cut for the total amount you'll be paying, not just the one yard. This makes the time it takes to process your order much longer. It's just too costly if your order is anything less than 1 yard.

Lynne Capehart has been watching her step. See:

Mary Rickard makes an unusual photo-quilt:

Lisa Filions shares two Twisted Sisters at

Nancy Eckel made a Twisted Sisters quilt too. See:

#192127 thinks she has a Worst Quilt Wannabe. See:

Here's some great thread (long staple/low lint cotton thread made from Egyptian cotton) with a great name. Leave it to Superior Threads to come up with colors like "Old Giza" (that large pyramid); "Joseph’s Coat" (lots of colors), "Mummies Dearest" (soft baby colors), and my favorite, "DeNile" (the river in Egypt). See

And so do their people, who benefit so much from these trained canines. Both Leader Dog for the Blind and Paws With A Cause thank the following people for their kindness this month: Paula Benjaminson,

If you'd like to feel good inside (and maybe outside, too) make my "almost free" Puppus Doggus block for the quilt of your choice. For details, see

This just in: You need to pay special attention to the current COMCAST television commercial that just started airing this past week-end. I've only seen it once, I knew it was coming, and for reasons that will be clear in a moment, I didn't pay any attention whatsoever. I can't tell you what it's about, what it is advertising, what's going on in the commercial, who says what, or even how to describe it to you. So why should you care? Well, my friend Sue Shevrin is in the commercial! We've known each other since 4th grade and if I didn't know she was going to be in it, I never would have spotted her. She's the one in a frumpy flowered dress that faints and her shoe falls off. Is that cool or what? Pay attention because she's on for about 2 seconds, but she's TERIIFIC! (And so much fun at parties!) Way to go, Sue!

Sue's transitioning from teaching school to doing voice-overs, radio stuff, and now television. So, if you wouldn't mind, if you see her in the commercial call your local Comcast office and tell them you love their new commercial, specifically the lady that faints!

We're getting to the end of the auction quilts. Don't lose out on bidding on one of these babies. For details, see:

Thanks for reading, you've gotten all the way to the end and expended 16 calories along the way, 23 if you laughed out loud. If you enjoyed what you read, please pass it along to a friend.

Until next time,
Ami Simms

Ami in Hawaii
Mrs. Simms Goes To Washington
Rag Fur Jacket Pattern
The Bikini Quilt
Dog Camp
What Were They Thinking?
Pie Starter Kit
Winning Stitches
Watch Your Step!
Mary Rickard's Photo-Quilt
Lisa Filions's Twisted Sisters quilts
Nancy Eckel's Twisted Sisters quilt
#192127 Worst Quilt Wannabe
King Tut Quilting Thread
Almost Free Quilt Pattern
eBay.com Auction Quilts
Ami's Web Page