March 2003

Warning: this is an OLD newsletter. Time marches on; things change. Information may be outdated, irrelevant, misleading or incorrect. (That means links, which are down at the bottom, may not work either. Unless it sends you to a porno site I won't fix it so don't tell me.) To get on the list to receive the next current newsletter, hit the BACK arrow on your browser and enter your e-mail address in the box on the previous page. You'll get the next issue. If you absolutely can't figure it out then e-mail me. It's free! What are you waiting for?

The Ami Simms Newsletter
March 1, 2003
Copyright 2003 by Ami Simms

Whose bright idea was it to put only 28 days in February?! I'd like to start a petition right now so we get 33 days next year. Who's with me?

February is always such a surprise. I know that stupid rhyme: "Thirty days has September...blah, blah, blah." And I know how to find the number of days in the month by counting knuckles and spaces, but every single year I'm always shocked at how quickly March seems to show up. Especially when I'm not finished with February yet. It's been a very busy month!

The "strike-offs" for my fabric line are in and they are very cool. Strike-offs are my designs painted on fabric. It's a way to check the color and see how it will look on cloth before they print all the yardage. It's very exciting. Only about a foot of the design is rendered. Troy Corporation keeps half and sends me the other half so we can both have a chunk in our hands when we talk about any corrections, seeing as I'm in Michigan and they're in Illinois. (Toll free number for shops is 800-888-2400 in case you're interested in ordering a bolt of everything before the big rush.) Everything is looking really good---just a few minor tweaks and we should be all set.

I should get real fabric in about a month. Not very much, but hopefully enough to make some sample quilts for Quilt Market in May. By then the bolts of fabric will be on their way from the mill so shops can take delivery shortly after that. There is no point in marking this down on your calendar. As soon as I see real fabric you should hear me jumping up and down and screaming. I'll also make a few virtual screams by way of a SPECIAL EDITION newsletter and put pictures of the "real deal" up on the web page.

I'll be in Pigeon Forge, TN for A Mountain Quiltfest March 12-16. (Contact for more information.) April 10-12, I'll be in Bay City, MI and Grayling, MI for workshops. (Contact and for more information.) Come May, I'll be in Portland, OR for Quilt Market and then with the San Joaquin Valley Quilters Guild in Fresno, CA. (Contact:

If you're ever curious to know where I am you can always head over to the web page and click on WORKSHOPS & LECTURES. Then select Teaching Schedule. Or, just click

This month one lucky winner will receive a mystery box from my very own sewing room filled with at least 10 pounds of stuff. I have no idea what that might include as I haven't filled the box yet. I guess that's why it's a mystery!

I have already drawn the winner of the merchandise from If you think that might be you, go see if you won. How do you do that? Go to the same place as you would to enter this month's drawing: Then scroll below.

By the way, if my name were Christine Bell, I would head right over there and see if I might just have won some goodies from the Warm Company. Just a thought.

And, in case anyone forgot, as of January 2003 (or was it December 2002?) I changed the rules. Only one win per lifetime. So quit whining.

The Dog-Yeared Mystery Block of the Month is going great guns. I have received such nice e-mails from the quilters participating. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It really means a lot. Each pattern stands alone, so if you want to get in on the fun, you can start at any time. (Like now.) We've only just begun! Blocks are small and not too terribly complicated. See

If you have purchased the March pattern BEFORE February 28th, it should have already arrived in your mailbox. Please email Debbie at if you have not yet received it. (The most common problem is lack of space, so clear out your mailbox of old read mail and THEN e-mail Debbie and ask her to send it to you again.) If you purchased March AFTER February 28th, it will be processed on Monday and you will receive your pattern via e-mail at that time.

The monthly Dog-Yeared patterns are sent via e-mail at a much reduced price, compared to the printed and "mailed" versions. To take advantage of the savings, you'll need to be able to successfully download, locate, open, and print the pattern. There is a "free" pattern for you to test your computer skills. It's totally free to download, locate, open, and print. The catch is you are honor bound to send me a block (one you make with the free pattern) or a buck as a donation to Leader Dogs For The Blind or Paws With A Cause if you USE the pattern. Details are with the pattern. The pattern is at:

Thanks to Karen Turner, Lois Sheriff, Marilyn Rothenberger, Erica Grenier, Nancy Mastroianni, Debra Voigt, Sharon Bouray, Rosemarie Doffek, Judith Stone, Ramona Tapper, Karen Hill, Cindy Koch-Krol, Jean Whitaker, Elizabeth Lizotte, Vicki Wells, and Laura Barnes for their donations to Leader Dog and PAWS in the forms of monetary donations or Puppus Doggus blocks --- and sometimes both!

Linda Sullivan from Linderella's has come out with another adorable pattern. She's the clever gal that did the Boogie Birds pattern. Anyway, her Kool Kats quilt is wonderful. You may have to make one even if you're a dog lover. See for yourself at

This month's bargain? Cheapo Scissors! They're fantastic. I reach for these babies every time and I've got way more expensive scissors right there on the table. Not only do they cut great, they're affordable enough to let your husband use them. (Why do you think I leave them out in plain sight and not locked up?) Plus, we just found out that you can buy these same exact scissors elsewhere and pay more than double. And, for a limited time if you buy TWO you can even save more! That makes our deal more than doubly delicious! Check them out at

Today I made dog angels in the snow. Ever do that? It's way fun. Right after Mom puts eye cream in your eye because you have an eye infection, run outside and plop down in the snow. Flip from side to side several times. Then, dig one paw into the ground and pump the other three so you spin in a circle, mashing as much snow, dirt and debris into your face as possible. Shake and repeat.

In case you need another "doggie fix" Mattie enrolled in Obedience Class. He was also tested to be a Therapy Dog. See how that turned out at:

Kris wanted to thank everyone who participated in the Heart Quilts for her family. (See for background.) She writes:

I can't describe my feelings when I opened the package you sent me with the two quilts made of blocks donated by your readers. I knew the finished quilts were coming, but I just wasn't prepared for the overwhelming rush of emotion I felt when I pulled them out of the box. The quilts are so wonderful, bright and cheery and full of love. My husband and I spent the rest of the afternoon looking at each block and marveling at the care and concern stitched into each one.

All these people taking time out from their busy lives to send a virtual hug to us! It was truly overwhelming. Best compliment of all - our teenage daughter Kelli came home from school and promptly called all her friends over to come and look at them! You will be pleased to know the two quilts are now security wrapped in plastic, placed in Rubbermaid bucket right by the back door of the house we are renting. If this house catches on fire, everyone in the house has instructions to take that bucket out first! When we get to the rebuilt house, one of them will have a place of honor on the dining room wall. Kelli called dibs on the other - she is already designing her bright and beautiful new bedroom around the quilt.

Christine Thresh, designer of the Bra Quilt (see ) also has a serious side. In memory of the seven astronauts who perished in the terrible shuttle accident she has created a lovely star block composed of seven paper-pieced space shuttles. It is a free pattern. See it at:

Several quilters share finished Picture Play Quilts this month: Sue Baker made a Hugs & Kisses quilt for Teddy

Jeweldine Smith made a Stepping Stones quilt for her nephew

Betty Hauck made a Windows on the World quilt for Max

and several quilters were bold enough to share their stash:

Vonda's is at

and Judy's is at

Gina Butler shared to photos she took on a recent trip through TX and wondered "What Were They Thinking!"

Here's the Quintessential Flower Bed she found

and possibly Too Much of a Good Thing

Lynda Carswell found a very interesting combination in Williamsburg, VA. I wonder how the women get to work.

and I found yet another reason to watch your step

I'd like to take this time to complain about Garbage Day. This is a weekly occurrence here in my neighborhood and after more than a dozen years at this address it has never changed. Yet, for some reason I can never seem to remember. Our day is TUESDAY. Early Tuesday. So early you can't just run outside with a bag in each hand because you're still in your nightgown Tuesday. I'm not sure if it's the time of day for our particular collection, or it has to do with the alignment of the stars and planets on Tuesdays, but the truck is always louder as it grinds into high gear and roars AWAY from the house than when it coasts in for the approach. Personally, I think they cut the engine on purpose.

I wouldn't care much except that we have Madison now. And the melting of the snow has not once corresponded to The Day Before Garbage Day, not that I would remember when that was mind you, but it could at least be a hint. This has forced me to make my own little reminder as I dispose of the presents he leaves me in the back yard.

At the first melt, I don my second pair of pants, ski mask, wool hat, scarf, gator, coat, and boots and waddle into the back yard, a plastic shopping bag in one hand and a stick in the other. I have tried every known scooping device at both pet stores plus a number of cooking utensils, all to no avail. Luckily size large surgical gloves fit over my gloves. (Two pair.) I pry off the ones I can with my thrice-gloved fingers and use the stick to chisel the stubborn ones free.

My plastic shopping bag now filled almost up to the handles, the problem then becomes one of disposal. I can't put the bag by the road because it's never about to be Tuesday. I can't store it in the garage with the other garbage; my "poopsicles" would defrost. So I hang them on the plant hangers off the deck. The view from the house is probably better in the spring and summer when the flowering plants are hanging there, but it is a handy reminder.

I used to use a similar technique when Daisy (see ) "parked" away from home. I'd bag it, and, not wanting it to smell up some public trash receptacle or leave it to cure inside my car until we were ready to return home, I just tucked it under the back windshield wiper of the van. The knot at the top of the bag held it in place, even as we drove home, the bag gently swaying or banging from side to side depending on the speed of the car. I recall it disappearing from that perch only one time when I turned on the rear wiper accidentally on Miller Road. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "losing it."

Don't forget to visit (and hopefully bid on) the quilts that readers of this newsletter have made to benefit Leader Dogs For The Blind and Paws With A Cause. There are SIX quilts on the auction block, a new record. Find them on my home page at

SEE YOU NEXT TIME Thanks for double clicking again this month. If you enjoyed reading this newsletter, please forward it to any of your friends who might also enjoy receiving it. Just be sure to forward the while thing. They can always get their very own copy by signing up on my web page at

Have a great month, and I'll be in your mailbox on April 1st. Please remember to let me out.

Happy quilting,
Ami Simms


Ami's Teaching Schedule
Win Cool Stuff
Dog-Yeared Mystery BOM Calendar Quilt
"Free" Pattern
Equal Time For Cats
Cheapo Scissors
Background on HEART QUILTS
Bra Quilt
Free Shuttle Block Pattern
Sue Baker's Quilt
Jeweldine Smith's Quilt
Betty Hauck's Quilt
Vonda's stash
Judy's stash
Quintessential Flower Bed
Too Much of a Good Thing
An Interesting Combination in VA
Watch Your Step
Background on Daisy
Bid On Auction Quilts
Ami's Free Newsletter