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The Ami Simms Newsletter
©June 2005 by Ami Simms

Summers here and it's time to enjoy your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. They're going to be out of school soon. Don't put it off; the summer will be gone before you know it. We have another week before our Jennie heads off to Kalamazoo to begin her new job and Steve and I will be empty-nesters. More like long distance truckers, actually as the haul to Kalamazoo with stuff for Jen's apartment is just a little over two hours each way. Not to worry; my apron strings have no problem stretching that far!

Make a quilt, of course! If you've got teenagers or young adults, pick a project and share the load. What a great way to bring a new sewer into the fold. Demonstrate, cajole, and reward all efforts, keeping quilting sessions short and fun. Before you know it you'll have a lifelong sewing partner.

If you've got younger kids, even better. Make a Picture Play Quilt (Coincidentally, I have a book out with that very same name!) Debbie Voigt just finished hers.

Commonly known as "I Spy Quilts" these are great fun to make and kids as young as 5 can participate. Am I kidding? NO! Pick a pattern to make together, there are 15 to pick from in the book, and all of them are made with simple squares. No set in corners or hexagons to monkey with. Head over to your local quilt shop and let junior pick out the fabric. You don't need a lot of yardage, fat quarters will do. (That way, you won't have to wait to have it cut, they fit in little hands, and you'll get more variety.)

This is, by the way, a form of bribery. Play your cards right and you might get a few minutes to shop for something else while you're there. Every time you go to the quilt shop with a little one in tow, reward good behavior with more Fat Quarters. You'll nurture a love of fabric while collecting the fabric you need for your quilt.

To get you started, Picture Play Quilts is on sale so you've got the incentive to start the summer out with a bang. I'll even autograph your copy for you AND the special kids in your life. If there isn't enough room in the drop down autograph box for everybody, list all the names in the COMMENT section and I'll get them all in there somehow. Won't that be cool too show your little ones their name written by the author just for them?

Picture Play Quilts comes with FREE plastic auditioning templates and cutting templates, plus instructions on exactly how to use them. If you're a beginner (or have lots of kids to sew for), pick something really easy like Sweet Dreams Sweet Dreams (page 25) or Sunshine (page 17). In the July newsletter, after you start collecting your fabric, I'll give you some special hints on what to do next.

Summer is also the perfect time to whip up a Rag Fur Jacket. Start to finish, you're talking about 20 hours, which is WAY faster than making a quilt! Rag Fur Jackets are lightweight and perfect for over air-conditioned restaurants where you need a quick cover-up. And, when the weather gets cooler this fall, layer them over turtlenecks to stay warm.

They are the absolutely BEST garment to travel with because they don't wrinkle, which is a good thing because you couldn't iron a Rag Fur Jacket if you wanted to! I turn mine inside out so the fringe doesn't get caught in the zipper, wad them up, and stuff them in my suitcase. When I get to where I'm going I just turn them right-side out give them a quick shake, and put one on.

I can tell you that you will receive lots of attention (and compliments) whenever you wear your "Michigan Mink." People flip over them, both quilters and civilians alike. You'll feel like a movie star. And you'll look MAH-velous too. The slimming angle of the rag fur placement in the front and back flatters every figure. Sizes for XXS to XXXL are all included in the pattern. The directions are very clear and start with how to measure yourself to get your jacket to fit YOU. Why don't you take a look and see how terrific Jeannine Rogerson looks in hers! To cut all that fringe you'll need Fiskar's Softouch Home & Office Scissors . The blades are the perfect length, and they're built tough so you can fringe through 8 layers of batik. (Believe me, I've tried the rest and these are the best.)

For a limited time, order the scissors and the Rag Fur Jacket Pattern and SAVE!

Special thanks to Barbara V. for this month's hysterical clip. The theme is simple enough: two brothers trying to take a picture for Mother's Day. Preview it before you decide if the language is appropriate for family viewing. If not, just turn the sound down. Copy and pate this into your browser: http://barney.gonzaga.edu/~lbarats/vids/mothersday.mov

Second runner up is a Ping Pong video that takes a while to load, but is really bizarre! It's worth the wait. Thank you, Sheila P. Copy and paste this URL into your browser. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8079411349144989883

Congratulations to Theresa E., Karen B., and Audrey A. for getting their names plucked from the hat for the May incentive prizes. Lucky I have such a large head, as there were lots of people whose name went into the hat. Their quilts also earned them a chance at a Bernina sewing machine.

Thank you one and all for making Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts to raise money for research. We are officially well over the 200 quilt mark, thanks to YOU! With over $6,000 in the pot for Alzheimer's research, we're making a difference one quilt at a time. And yes, I'm looking for more quilts. They can't be bigger than 9" by 12" and can certainly be smaller! We have an incredible opportunity to sell Priority: Alzheimer's quilts at Quilt Festival in Houston and the more we bring the better! The online auctions are ongoing, so pick up that needle and join Betty Donahue who has made over 40 quilts to fight Alzheimer's! Way to go Betty!

Don't have time? There are 16 super quilts on the auction block right now. For the next 10 days you can bid on quilts made by Audrey Arno, Nancy Brenan Daniel, Lisa Fiorini-Ahmad, Carol Kolf, Judy Mathieson, Marsha McCloskey, Doris Miller, Catherine Parrish, Diane Petersmark, Laura Prettyman, Ami Simms, and Kathy Cracroft Wilhelmsen. Bid big and bid often.

I got lots of comments from readers about my inventions from the May newsletter. Cindy S. shared her own invention to keep from digging around in your purse to find your keys: a small helium-filled sack that gently floats your keys up to you.

I like it! Adjusting the helium levels would probably be the greatest issue. I'd get distracted mid way and then have to pluck them off the ceiling with a step-ladder. Maybe a tether system…

Another reader suggested a "reverse microwave." It would quick-chill so you could make Jello in like 45 seconds. (I love it!)

Beverly informed me that while 3-M isn't making Holiday Duct Tape (the fools) they are making Duct Tape Band Aids. Go figure:

Nearly EVERYONE wrote to tell me about colored toilet paper. The consensus is that we had it in the US years ago, there were issues with the tissues (non-décor related), and now we don't have it. Coloured (notice the spelling) toilet paper is alive and well in the UK. An astute traveler wrote in to tell me that the paper in the public restroom by the Tower of London is bright pink!

In my unending search to fill this newsletter with interesting and helpful tidbits, I did find some interesting web pages you may care to visit:

Print $1 off coupon Scott toilet paper, euphemistically called "bath tissue."

Totally useless, but entertaining worldwide toilet paper consumption statistics.

Renovo, a Portuguese company, has just released BLACK toilet paper. This reviewer has some interesting comments, those of his readers, degenerate quickly however, so you might want to skip those.

And, for the person who has everything: custom printed toilet paper.

OK, we're done on this subject.

There is another entry to the "What Were They Thinking" page, Deb Newman finished off her Twisted Sisters quilt with a most unusual setting, and there is another addition to the "Watch Your Step" page. Amy Simms (my neice-in-law with the similar name) sent in another "Letter From Kazakhstan."

Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins have a new book out called Amish-Inspired Quilts and it's fantastic. Color, color, color! I love every single one of the quilts! I want to make the one on the cover. More than once! Check out the "quilt fragments." What a great idea! Don't miss this one.

Becky and Linda also have a new fabric line from P & B. These aren't for Amish-Inspired Quilts, but if you ever wanted to duplicate the rich and "happy" tones of Becky and Linda's other appliquéd projects, this fabric is the real deal. They have personality, but they blend well too. You'll get a free pattern when you order from their website . (Scroll down.)

June 5th is the last day to send in your submission . It's probably too late if you haven't started your quilt, but if you're almost there….don't give up now!

I'm also going to make a somewhat odd request. If you'd like to support the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, but you don't want to make a quilt or bid on a quilt, scroll down to the very bottom and click the "Pay Non-Refundable Submission Fee" button and click it. PRETEND you're submitting. (Please type "JUST KIDDING" in the comment section of your order so we won't go nuts looking for the pictures of your quilt and the artist statement.) Why? Your $15 will help pay for insuring the traveling quilt exhibit, providing for shipping materials like tubes to roll the quilts around, wood slats, plastic shipping totes, those cute little "tie-backs," plastic bags, and a host of other things. It's not tax deductible, and you won't earn a shot at the Bernina sewing machine, but you'll really be helping, just the same and I won't waste a penny. So far we've raised $6438.50 and spent only $77.42 which I think is pretty impressive.

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is self-funding, meaning that it has to pay for itself. Expenses to run the Initiative come out of what the Initiative brings in, plus my donated time as Photographer, Web Hostess, Copy Editor, Email Answerer, Queen of Promotions & Public Relations, Curator, Exhibit Scheduler, and Donation Begger. My company, Mallery Press, is donating my employee's salaries to process and package the auction quilts and to do my bidding when it comes to the AAQI—"Debbie, keep track of the auctions and update the web page every 12 minutes while I’m on the road, will ya?" It is also footing the bill for the credit card processing fees, web page listing and product fees, and other boring stuff like paper, toner, and an office to call "home."

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 :

Be good to each other and have a great quilting day! (Or several!) Ami Simms

If you want your email address to be removed from this newsletter list, send an email to Debbie at MalleryPress@aol.com. Do not waste electrons by copying and sending the whole newsletter. She knows which one you mean. Just type "REMOVE" in the body or subject of the email. Be kind. Debbie is a real person.