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The Ami Simms Newsletter
March 2001

It's nice to be sitting in your mailbox again. Thanks for requesting this newsletter. As always, you can read past issues (if you accidentally delete this one) at http://www.groups.yahoo.com. Click on MY GROUPS when you get there and then select the newsletter. They'll be in MESSAGES by date. (There are also a half dozen or so at my web page http://www.MalleryPress.com.)

And, as always, you are encouraged to share the newsletter with everyone you know. Just tell your friends how they can get their own. (Email me at amisimms@aol.com and ask for it. I'll be sure to let them have it! LOL)

I got lots of mail on how to recycle my old quilting needles. (The first person that writes with a particular idea is credited, in case you were wondering.) Sherry T suggested we hang pictures with them. "Just pound those suckers into the wall up to the thick part. It ain't comin' down." Gale P, who is a dental hygienist says, "All Dr. and dental offices have special containers for "sharps" (needles and such) that are disposed of properly." I hope they don't care that I'm quilting with "betweens" and not "sharps." Two great ideas! Thanks, ladies!

It was also suggested by several folks (the first of whom was Gale P.) that I enter all web addresses with the "http://" in front of them to you all won't have to cut and paste. I'll try to remember. Since that doesn't work for AOL users, all the web page links in the newsletter will appear at the very end.

MARCH 15 (Thursday) CHAT ON AOL
You're all invited to my chat on AOL. (Keyword: QUILTERS then follow the prompts to the chat room.) We start at 9 pm EST. Bring chocolate.

MARCH 17 (Saturday) CHAT ON AOL
If you haven't had enough of me by then, I'm going to be at the National Quilt Day chat on Saturday, March 17 in the AOL Chat Room. Same directions, but half an hour earlier. I'll be there for a few minutes some time between 8:30 and 8:45 pm EST.

...to the Gala Opening of the Sweet Dreams On-Line Workshop Gala Quilt Exhibit. It's going to be kind of a virtual "Show & Tell." That will open precisely at 9:30 pm EST from my web page. (http://www.MalleryPress.com) Click on Picture Play Quilts and scroll down until you see something like ON-LINE QUILT CLASS EXHIBIT.

The class was held totally on-line with students across the country plus one from Australia. We exchanged almost 300 e-mails, had several on-line chats, a couple of fabric swaps and a secret web page with instructions for making the Sweet Dreams quilt on page 25 of Picture Play Quilts. We started in January and the quilt exhibit marks the end of the workshop. Come and see what a fine job everyone did!

I've been working hard on my web page which means I'm hardly working on anything else! Even so, I'm having way more fun than I should. Here's what's new:

1. If you're a dog lover you can download an "almost free" screensaver of Daisy pictures. You get it free for 30 days (which is more than enough time to get sick of it) then you get to decide how much to pay for it in the form of a donation to Leader Dogs For The Blind if you'd like to keep using it. There are over 60 pictures of Daisy from adorable little pup to maturing (but still goofy) adolescent. There's also information on a very inexpensive computer program you can download to make your own screensaver.(If I could do it, so can YOU!)

2. There are a couple of sale items on the top page also, including some awesome BUG fabric at a really good price.

3. I've also started putting illustrations with my lecture and workshop descriptions. ("Started" is the operative word here.) And, I'm moving in the direction of putting more of my quilts up on the page.

4. Then, of course, we have a new...

It's another selection of fabric, this time courtesy of Maywood Studio. If you're the lucky winner, I'll be sending you over 21 yards of their "Just Makin' Conversation" fabric! These new additions to Maywood Studio's popular line of tiny prints with a 30s flavor will look wonderful in your traditional designs from Double Wedding Ring to Grandmother's Flower Garden and everything in between. They're all florals and read "light" or "medium" with a few "darks" in there too. An extra bonus to these charming fabrics is the hand of the cloth. They're printed on a nice, tight weave with a finish smooth as silk.

Don't forget to see if you were the winner of the last door prize. You'll find that information on the WIN COOL STUFF navigation tab too.

I've decided that less is just less. I will be giving the axe to the beloved but short-lived PPQNEWS, the newsletter devoted to things Picture Play Quilty. Alas, I keep forgetting to send it out and would rather tell you guys all the news I have, Picture Play Quilt-wise and otherwise anyway.

So, here's your Picture Play Quilts update: Did you know there are 565 different conversational prints waiting for you at the Picture Play Quilts tab on my web site? http://www.MalleryPress.com. Yup, there are. You can make your mouth water and get a virtual fabric fix by ogling fabric on-line. Click on Search The Conversational Fabric Database and you can hunt by motif (pick from almost 200 motifs from "airplane" to "zodiac") or manufacturer (22 different fabric manufacturers are on-line with us) or color, or designer or line name! You'll be amazed at what pops up!

We've just put up AvLyn Creations Halloween fabrics, David Textile's China Blue and Silent Fields lines, and more of Maywood Studio's Just Makin' Conversation line.

We're not selling any of the fabric, but there are quilt shops who are just waiting for you to find something you can't live without and email to ask if they have it in stock. Where's THAT? Click Picture Play Quilts then select Ask A Quilt Shop. How will they know what you're talking about? Each fabric pops up with the manufacturer's order number. It couldn't be easier.

Already have too much conversational fabric? No WAY! Want more? Of course! Try one of the Picture Play Quilt SWAPS. Trade with other quilters all over the country. Details are on the web page under Picture Play Quilts.

I'll be visiting Texas TWICE this spring with the first trip coming up in just a few days. On March 20 I'll be in Keller Texas with the Bear Creek Quilters. Contact either Teaa GVTX2@aol.com for the lecture or Debbie Debiden43@aol.com for the String Quilting Workshop.

In May I'll be in Houston teaching for the Lakeview Quilters, The Greater Houston Quilt Guild, and possibly the West Houston Quilter's Guild. AND, I'll be visiting The Island Quilters Guild and Quilts By the Bay in Galveston. Best to look at the web page http://www.MalleryPress.com for contact information.

In between the Texas trips I'll be visiting the Common Threads Quilt Guild in Lafayette, Indiana.

If you've got a color printer and would be willing to print TWO identical pictures on fabric and send them to me, let me know by the end of March. Send me an e-mail with the name and model number of your printer and your name. I have an idea and I want to test it, but I need help. I just need ONE person per different kind of printer. The first person who emails me with that particular model number gets to participate. Unless you have a really RARE printer don't email me after March 31, 2001. On March 31 (or really close to that) I will let EVERYBODY know if you and your printer were chosen or not. (I hope you can handle the suspense.) If you are selected what will you get out of it? You'll get:

1. The chance to be on the ground floor of something either REALLY BIG, or REALLY STUPID. 2. That warm fuzzy feeling knowing that you helped out another human being in the quest of improved quilting. 3. An almost worthless discount coupon for merchandise on my web page. 4. My unending gratitude and admiration.

If it turns out that this is a really great idea, then I'll mention it in the newsletter. If it turns out to be really stupid, forget you ever read this.

I've been at the auction again. http://www.eBay.com. No, I'm not bidding on spare kidneys or some of the other idiotic things they have for sale. I'm bidding on BUTTONS. Old buttons. Old, dirty, crummy buttons you find in somebody's grandmother's sewing box that make your fingers gritty and smell funny. My favorites are the old pearl button and the jet-black buttons, and the colorful gaudy plastic-like buttons from the 40s. It doesn't matter if I'm sorting them or running my fingers through big piles of them, I'm happy either way.

When Steve found out how many I bid on last week he said I was entirely TOO happy and asked what I was going to do with them all. I told him, "I'm going to put them in with the others." Silly question.

He asked me AGAIN what I was going to DO with them. I said, louder this time, "I'm going to just PUT THEM ALL TOGETHER IN A BIG PLASTIC BOX WITH A SNAP ON LID AND HAVE THEM. All together. That way I can swish my hands through them, or pick through them and try and decide on my favorites, but basically just to have them. In Case."

"In Case WHAT," he wanted to know.

"In case I might want to do something with them later." He still doesn't get it. (I'm also collecting screaming ugly jeans from the Goodwill too, but he hasn't found those yet. I'll tell you about those next time.)

SO WHO DO YOU THINK MADE THE FIRST SHANK BUTTONS? I happened to be in the midst of button appreciation when Judy and I got emailing. Turns out her grandfather, Leonard Bowen, born in 1878, was a mechanical engineer in Iowa City, Iowa, and invented several sophisticated machines to manufacture buttons from fresh water clam shells around the turn of the century. He invented the tool to drill the holes to make shank buttons. He apprenticed as a machinist at the U.S. Arsenal in Rock Island, Ill after graduating from Iowa City Military Academy. Doesn't that make you want to run right out and add to your button collection?

...The big excitement around here is my recent discovery: Dog TV. It's great. We've got sets in every room and they're always on. I can sit for hours and watch. We have the interactive kind. If you bark loud enough you can get the TV personalities to do stuff, like run or twitch. Mostly it's the same station on all the sets, but you get different programs throughout the day. We have birds in the morning, squirrels in the afternoon, and deer, opossum, skunk and raccoons at night. I'm not allowed to bark or scratch the window so I just make faces at them and run back and forth a lot. And sometimes I forget and I bark and scratch and make faces all at the same time and everybody in the whole house.... (You'll have to go to http://www.MalleryPress.com and click on PUPPY to find out!)

Have a great quilting day
Ami Simm