June 2007

My Sinking Sailboat pattern is on sale NOW!

The Ami Simms Newsletter
June 2007
© Ami Simms

It's June, I can't believe it! Here at Mallery Press we're going to start Summer Hours. It's so exciting. Debbie and I (or Judy and I) will be in the office processing orders, answering the phone, and shuffling papers on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Tuesday and Friday the phones will be answered by the "machine." Tuesday will be totally devoted to the AAQI with a volunteer helping me do anything and everything so that I can possibly, maybe, even CATCH UP. That person could be you. (See below.) On Fridays, Madison has put his paw down and stipulated that we have to go to the lake, ride bikes, take long walks in the park, and chase tennis balls. While I'm in agreement with most of those things, I'll toss. He can chase.

I'm thinking this might even be good for my mental health, which I seem not to have too much left of. LOL! I'm going to try it out and see what not working 24/7 feels like. Right.

Here's Steve's summertime tip: Mow your lawn the day AFTER your neighbor mows theirs. That way your lawn will always look "better." My husband knows his stuff.

Steve is not a big gardener, he's a mower. If you can't tend whatever is growing in the yard with a lawn tractor, he wants no part of it. In the spring we have tulips, daffodils, crocuses that sprout in odd places in the middle of our lawn where the flower gardens used to be. Even when my mom putted around in the gardens, each fall Steve just mowed them all down. None of this bulb-yanking stuff, protecting plants with Styrofoam covers during the winter, or letting the withered stems and leaves nourish next year's garden. Brrrrrrrrm! Gone. He would have weeded that way too if we'd have let him.

Sure it drove me crazy, until I realized that I could prevent the Big Mow Down if I had any desire to do whatever should have been done, rather than mow. I didn't. I got over it really fast.

I was reminded again of how much I dislike gardening, even when seeing first hand the beauty and joy a well-tended garden can bring. We spent a wonderful Memorial Day with Steve's family. His sister hosted the day and she is an accomplished gardener. Two green thumbs up. I took the Flower Bed Tour with my other sister-in-law who must also have a PhD in gardening. As Kathleen introduced us to each plant by its proper Latin name, Debra responded with a knowing look. (I just tried not to look stupid.) Sometimes they finished each other's sentences as they talked about which plants liked sunlight or shade, needed pruning, had recent frost damage, or showed evidence of deer nibbles. (I was suddenly mute.) You could tell they both really got into it, and that Kathleen has a personal relationship with every growing thing in her yard. I think I saw several plants actually straiten their stalks when she approached. Blossoms turned towards her as she walked by.

I thought it would be nice to have a garden too, and wondered if I could tend one from inside the house where it is air-conditioned and I could keep my hands clean. Probably not.

Remember those summer hours? I'm going to learn to slow down, back off, relax. I can only do that with help, and I'd prefer that help not to be a sedative. So, if you can lighten my load, here's what I need:

A Tuesday volunteer: You must be easily amused, enjoy being decorated with Golden Retriever hair and a small amount of slobber, know your way around a computer (Word, the Internet, maybe even Photoshop, QuickBooks perhaps), and know which end of a needle to thread. I have no idea what I'll have you do, but even if it's holding on to the other end of my leash to keep me on task, I'd appreciate it. Food provided. From outside sources, so you're safe. Interested? Email me your qualifications. I have one volunteer who will come in once a month, another who might be a semi-regular, but there is still room for you!

If you are coming to the NQA show in Ohio, I need your help. We're running really low on our AAQI stickers. They're nothing more than return address labels with information about the AAQI. We slap stickers on people who see the Alzheimer's quilts, and it has become a badge of honor. I SAW THE ALZHEIMER'S QUILT! Just like I VOTED or I GAVE BLOOD.

If you can print off some stickers for me and bring them to the show, I could really use your help. Email me with STICKER in the subject line and I'll send you a file with "destructions" on how to do it.

Anybody who wants to print stickers and mail them to me for the next show would be doing a good thing too.

My cousin and her husband make television commercials and all sorts of things digital. I was visiting with them in Florida last week and they offered to take the voice recordings from the Alzheimer's CD and the overall photos of each quilt in the traveling exhibit and turn them into a downloadable movie for Video iPods. The idea is to sell the download for a modest fee, with all profit going to Alzheimer's research.

If you have a video iPod and you're going to the NQA show and would like to beta test the movie, you can have the download for free if you're among the first 50 people to email me. Email me with IPOD VIDEO in the subject line.

I know you've eaten at one. They're not a franchised, "chain" restaurant, but they are as ubiquitous as the golden arches. Every town has one. (I know… I hunt them out!)

Here's what I wonder: How is it that they're all so similar— from the food to the fixtures? Is there some Internet site on how to open and run a Chinese Buffet? (And since when is sliced bananas with red sweet sauce a Chinese delicacy?!)

The newsletter you're reading isn't the only one in town. If you enjoy this one, you might like to read Kaye Wood's newsletter. It's filled with quilting tips and techniques from one of the top quilters in the Industry! FREE projects and weekly sales! This can be yours by just a click. Join the thousands who receive the Kaye Wood Weekly Newsletter...It's loaded with tons of information surely to inspire your creative energy. Best part...it's FREE! Don't miss this chance to sign up.

Kay's website is loaded with all the products featured on Kaye Wood's quilt show, Kaye's Quilting Friends. Satisfaction guaranteed! Send an email to subscribe to:

There's a rather strange parking lot photo I the What Were They Thinking Department, and Sharron has a great tip for a stash resource center.

This story comes from Linda Halpin. (I just updated the statistics.)

Quilt for a Good Cause
We are so blessed to be able to quilt. For so many, it is their passion. And for so many, they share their passion by quilting for a good cause. Let me tell you about a very good cause that can use your support. Quiltmaker Ami Simms has started the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. The goals of the project are to raise awareness and to fund research so a cure can be found for Alzheimer's disease. How can you help? Check out the Priority Alzheimer's Quilt Auction, where quiltmakers have donated quilts that fit into a flat Priority Mail envelope for on-line auction. Since January 2006, the Initiative has raised over $68,390.73. If you know anyone affected by this terrible disease, you know how devastating it is for patient and family alike. Whether you donate a quilt, or place a bid, let your quilting support a great cause.

I made a quilt for this auction and I have to tell you how participation in this project touched me in ways I never imagined. It started out as a way to do something for my mother-in-law who is sadly an Alzheimer's patient. The crazy quilt I made was fun to do, a collection of bits of fabric held together with the fancy hand-stitching I so love to do, embellished with ribbons, buttons, and beads. It was exciting to see it come up for bid, watching how people responded to it, and seeing the price rise. What I never expected was the number of lives my quilt would touch. I received a message after the auction closed from Kathy Ockuly from Glenwood, (Baltimore) Maryland. It seems she and her friends had joined forces to have the winning bid on my quilt. They have a dear friend who had recently lost her mother to Alzheimer's, and wanted to do something special for her, so they bid on this quilt, and sent it to her to let her know how much they cared.

It didn't stop there. A few days later, I got a lovely letter from Ruth Bragg, in Meadville, PA, the recipient of the quilt. She and her mom had shared a love of stitching, and she told me how very much this quilt meant to her. With so many groups doing charity projects, making quilts for such a wide variety of causes, sometimes we forget that the charity doesn't stop with the completion of the quilt. The kinship goes on and on and on, to all those that the quilt touches along the way: to the friends who found a way they could offer compassion to a friend who had gone through a crushing loss, to the friend who felt the warmth and love of her friends in their giving her a quilt in memory of her mother. And through all of it, money was raised to help search for a cure for this terrible disease.

While we may think there is nothing we can do, quilting is a powerful medium. When my quilt came up for auction in August, the Priority Alzheimer's Quilt Auction Project had raised close to $9,000 since it started in January 2006. Now, a little over a year later, that figure is almost $70,000! Never let it be said that what you do doesn't count for something. When we join forces, we can accomplish great things. So think about participating. Think about bidding on a quilt in memory of a friend or a relative or an acquaintance. Your gesture will lend support in ways you never imagined.

If you feel motivated by Linda's words, I happen to know where you can put them into action. Bid high and bid often!

If you'd rather stitch, please go here to learn how you can spend an afternoon making a 9" x 12" quilt that will bring us one step closer to a cure.

Our featured product for the month of June is the slickest quilt hanging system around. They're called No See Ums™. (But you can see them over here.) I love them because they're so versatile. I can hang quilts of multiple widths in the same place using the same brackets without monkey-ing around with the brackets. The quilts look like they just hang on the wall all by themselves. You can't see a thing. And, the quilts can be taken down lickety-split, without any fuss at all. No See Ums™ are also featured in the shoptalk section of the June 2007 issue of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine on page 28.

Mom said if I told about this, I'd get in trouble, but she's very preoccupied right now with something else, so I thought I'd share anyway. Besides, she's all bark and no bite.

Mom and Dad have made certain, er, "accommodations" for me. I sleep on the floor at the foot of their bed on a special foam rubber bed that Mom made me. I have matching sheets so all the beds in the room coordinate. And if Dad doesn't mind sleeping on pink flowered sheets, neither do I.

When I am invited, I tuck Mom and Dad into bed and lay on the covers so they can't get out.

Mom took out the two middle seats in the Venture Van so I can have a place to hang out when I ride in the car. I usually squeeze myself between the two front bucket seats, so I can lean my head on the closest thigh, but seeing as my personal behind is a little wide it has to go somewhere else. The empty space is wonderful for my overflow.

I love to ride in the car. I am not a window fogger. I mostly don't care where we go, so I lay down. I am probably near-sighted. When we take a new route I sit up and look out the front window of the car, but I am always a safe distance away from the windshield. When we get to wherever we are going, I stand up and prepare to exit my door. I don't get out until Mom puts the leash on me and gives me the OK sign.

Here's where you can't tell Mom that you know. They take me out to dinner. Yeah, it's great. Mom was feeling really sorry for me when they'd go out and she had to give me the REMAIN command. That's different from a STAY, which means I have to stay exactly where I am and not move forever, or until someone releases me. That's really hard to do when nobody is home. Mom invented REMAIN, so that I know I have to stay home, but I can move around wherever I want. That's when I invented my Most Pathetic Look.

I stop dead in my tracks, perk my ears, raise my eyebrows, and do my baby seal impression while looking as sad as possible. Mom was already feeling sorry for me because when I was a Service Dog for Nannie I got to go wherever she went. Mom knows I miss working.

So, now sometimes we have Dog Dinners. I get to go with. We drive to a local restaurant that does carry-out. Mom and Dad go in to get the food and I keep Mom's seat warm. (She said that's OK and they hurry right back.) If the place has outdoor tables we go there, otherwise we all eat in the car so that I can be with them. When I say "we" I mean that metaphorically. I don't eat people food. I either eat before we leave the house or when we get home.

After dinner Dad sometimes lets me play fetch in the car. That's really fun. The whole van jumps up and down. Now that the weather is nicer, we can do it outside.

I'll be teaching at McCall's Quilting Symposium June 20-23 in Denver. If you're in the neighborhood, come by and say hi! For more information, see my teaching schedule.

Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece is flying off the shelves! If you ever wondered how they got onto the shelves in the first place, click here.

If you haven't gotten your copy yet, I've still got it. You just need to place an order. Shipping is the same if you order one or two copies. Keep one for yourself and share the other with someone who has a family member with Alzheimer's. It's hard to know how to help and what to do. Now you know.

Have a wonderful day and cherish the ones you love!

Ami Simms

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.