March 2005

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The Ami Simms Newsletter
© March 1, 2005

I'm always glad you double-clicked. Welcome to all the new subscribers and welcome back to loyal newsletter readers. Thank you all for submitting your humorous quilts, "quilty" decorating tips, and unusual storage ideas last month. I'm nowhere near done, collecting images and stories for my lecture (maybe book) so keep 'em coming. Thanks too for scanning and emailing your "Quilt Pox" signs. I have enough of those! Judging by how many of you have them, I'm in the wrong business. Forget the books and patterns, I should go into signs!

While I was at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, VA, my kid was ON TOUR! Could a mother be any prouder? I doubt it! I'd be a groupie if I could. Jennie has been singing with the Alma College Choir in various locations. The tour started at the end of February. If you just happen to live in Germantown, TN then you're in luck because she's singing at the Farmington Presbyterian Church at 7pm TONIGHT! (That is if you're reading this on March 1st.) Other venues between now and March 13 include Jackson, TN; Bowling Green, KY; Wilberforce, OH; Alma, MI; and Port Huron, MI. (You'll find me in the audience at the last two for sure, maybe three.) For more information, times and dates (and of course a picture!) please see:

You’d think we would have exhausted this topic, but they keep coming! Sandy K. shares the name of her retired ob/gyn---Dr. Steven Pap. And, in her capacity as administrator of a major medical school she came across a Dr. Kneebone, senior lecturer in Surgical Education at the Imperial College London. Another of Lynn’s favorite doctors: Dr. Ah Chu. Lynn also works with a secretary whose name is April Ombrella.

Sue L writes in that her husband’s dermatologist is named Dr.Rash.

Evelyn B. says her daughter’s orthodontist was Dr. Toof Boone of Macon, GA, affectionately known as Dr. Toof by his patients. Juanita B. who grew up in Houston remembers seeing a sign on Heights Blvd for a chiropractor named Dr. Bilderback.

Nancy V. offers three streets in a little neighborhood on the Crosby- Lynchburg highway, just east of Houston named Winkin, Blinkin and Nod. And finally, Karen G. says there is a road in Holderness, NH called "Ta Da Dump." Yes, the dump is on that road.

If you live in the greater Chicago area, please join me for three days of quilting with the NSQG (Northwest Suburban Quilters'Guild) later this month. I'll be presenting a lecture on The World's Worst Quilts as well as a Picture Play Quilts workshop and a Twisted Sisters workshop. I understand there are a few openings. For more information, please head on over to my somewhat newly revised "Workshops & Lectures" page where you can find my complete schedule (by year and by state), a complete list of the lectures and workshops currently offered, expenses, a form to request a booking, and a page of what to expect when you hire me. See:

I messed up the email address to subscribe to Kaye Wood's newsletter last month. If you'd like to sign up, email Terry at: Apologies all around.

Thanks to Pam for this M & M "patchwork" cake. See:

Just in case your pillows were cold, I thought I'd share a few recipes for making pillowcases. Every bed quilt ought to have a matching set. It also gives you something to "do" for people in the hospital. Everybody looks so much healthier resting on a bright pillowcase instead of industrial white. Theme them with conversational fabrics or bright prints to the hobbies or character of the person receiving them. They're fast to make, fun to receive, and gives you something to talk about when you visit. See:

Lots of quilters put washing instructions on the back of quilts they give away. They sew them right on the quilt back under the label. This is a great idea. You don't want some ding-dong throwing their quilt in the washing machine along with the rags they used to lube the car. However, sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea to sew a few instructions on how to RECEIVE a quilt somewhere on there too. Personally, I want gushing, blubbering, and perhaps a moment or two of absolute rapture. Watery eyes are mandatory; actual tears are preferred. It's great when you get the right reaction. It's those individuals who are totally clueless that make you wish you had kept the quilt for yourself and gotten them a gift card for Home Depot. They have no idea how much time it took to make, how much the fabric cost, or how close your index finger actually came to the rotary cutter. They seem blind to the colors you took hours to select, deaf to the symphony of movement that dances across your masterpiece, and numb to the notion that you could have been having way more fun starting another project instead of finishing this one. And no, it matters not that the quilt was a result of a failed workshop attempt and was either going into the hopper or to the box with the other UFOs you were donating to the guild' silent auction under an assumed name. It's a quilt. You finished it. You decided to gift it. They are the giftee. And the least they could do was ACT the part of honored and humbled recipient.

What happens after the quilt is received is also critical. As far as I can see there are only two alternatives: the first is that the quilt is hung in a place of honor, possibly over a small shrine dedicated to you and your creative talents. The second, well, I think I'll let Virginia Prudence share a lovely story where I think she realized how we would all like our quilts to wind up.

Virginia writes: Three years ago I finished my first quilt - a lovely (or so I thought) blue and yellow Delectable Mountains Quilt I had made it for my dear aunt, my mother's sister. Both Mother and Aunt Lucette had moved into an assisted-living apartment in Miami. My sister made a Delectable Mountains quilt for Mother's bed and Aunt Lucette had the one I made for her. My sister and I were very proud of the quilts and they really were very lovely.

Aunt Lucette went on to her reward this part September, and when my sister and others were going through her things, came upon the quilt I had made. When I was asked if I'd like to have it back, of course I said that I would. Imagine my shock to see the condition it was in. Faded --- well, that's putting it mildly. And some holes. 'Course those nurses didn't know about the care and treatment of precious first-time quilts. And then I remembered. I gave the quilt to Aunt Lucette. It was meant to be used and loved and washed and used and loved over and over. And it was. And when I remember how much Auntie loved that quilt and never failed to thank me for it, well, my disappointment has faded. I have put it in a white pillow case and some day I'll give it to a granddaughter and tell her the story also!!

I've mentioned this very cool pattern before, but wanted to let you see the tote I'm toting around. Thanks to Laura Martell, the pattern creator, I have my very own professional tote made from my "Pie a la Mode" fabrics. Thank you Laura! Take a look at:

See Sheila Larson's stash:

See Claire Barrows' Rag Fur Jacket:

See Margaret Krausse's Twisted Sisters:

Elyssa Zangre ponders an unusual sign:

I'm about three-quarters of the way through WATCHERS by Dean Koontz and I stopped. I don't think I've read anything by him before, and this one caught my attention only because one of the characters is a Golden Retriever named Einstein who is only slightly smarter than Madison. (OK, maybe a lot smarter.) Well, the book was way more grisly than I had anticipated. (I'm a real sissy.) I found myself skipping over most of it, reading only the lovely descriptions of Einstein and his special abilities and skipping all the gruesome details. I threw it in the trash once, then got it out because, while I get upset with the violence, Einstein and his people are just so endearing that I couldn't help myself. I want to read more but not if anything happens to the dog. (Eye roll.) For those of you who have read the book, tell me how it ends, but don't tell me if the dog dies. I would rather just put the book back in the trash and live with my own fantasies. (I know. I'm just a sap.)

If you know how the book ends, send me an email. ( Here's what you can tell me.

A) Einstein survives and lives out the rest of his life with Nora and Travis, fathering many little golden retrievers one of whom is surely Madison great great grandsomething.

B) Nora and/or Travis meet their ultimate demise, but Einstein gets his own talk show

C) Put the book back in the trash; you don't want to know.

On a more serious note, many of you may recall my work with Daisy, the Leader Dog puppy we raised. While Daisy was "career-changed" most of her littermates and many thousands of other puppies have gone on to become dog guides, hearing dogs, and service dogs that make it possible for their disabled partners to lead fuller, more productive, and more independent lives. As you probably already know, assistance dogs (guide dogs, hearing dogs, service dogs, etc) are allowed in all public places under the Americans With Disabilities Act. This includes airplanes where the dogs fly in the cabin with their partners, in the space at their partner's feet.

The Department of Transportation has proposed new regulatory language for the way in which the airlines are to accommodate assistance dogs on aircraft. The changes are not good. To read more, see:

Thanks (I guess) to Peggy S. for sending this link. Thankfully this has yet to catch on. See:

Here's a new website hosted by RJR, Alicia's Attic, Baby Lock, C&T, Olfa, Simplicity, and Elna. Register, read about the various products, take short quizzes and be entered to win free gifts. You could even receive a prize for registering. Look for this site to really take off soon. See

Special thanks to Gigi K. for donating a whole box of leftover thread for my quilting classes at the North End Womens Life Center. I know they will be put to good use. I'm still looking for Omnigrid rulers, Olfa rotary cutters, and rotary cutting mats as well as seam rippers, small scissors, rotary blades and 100% cotton fabric you don't need any more. When I'm not traveling, Mom, Madison and I are there Wednesday afternoons.

Just when you thought you've seen it all, here's a web page on FOLDING SHIRTS! How could this be at all interesting? Well, you've got to see it to believe it. Trust me! Thanks to Michelle G. for recommending this one. Go ahead, take a look:

Not only does it rhyme, but these things are just so cool. Cole Wing, maker of those super-dooper ruler holders I've told you about, and I have been collaborating on a new product. While I love my PEEKERS, the little Styrofoam holder kept falling over on my desk. Plus I kept losing the case. So, we came up with an idea that solved both of those problems beautifully. Take a look (scroll to bottom):

Cole's ruler holders come in table top and shelf models, large and small. The slots are just the right size so the rulers don't play "dominoes" and knock themselves over onto the floor, a problem I have found with similar products. To snag one see .

Cole is working on some dynamite new products for the quilting business right now. I hope to report back next month on his progress. Meanwhile, he's asked me to ask you if there is anything you would like invented. His specialty is wood, but his imagination just won't quit. Email Cole at

Yvonne Perez-Collins has a new book out called Fabric Boxes & Bowls. There are 10 projects that really look fun to make. Each project has good clear instructions, full-sized patterns, and lots of colored pictures. Yvonne is making a special deal for my readers. She will autograph a copy of Fabric Boxes & Bowls and ship it to you priority mail for $14.85. US residents only. (Residents of CA please add 8% sales tax for a total of $16.03) Send check or money order to Yvonne at 4816 Mt. La Platta Dr./San Diego, CA 92117 or email her for more details at

Yes, it's that time of year again. Thanks to Janet W. for my yearly reminder, otherwise I'd forget! National Quilting Day is Saturday, March 19. Focusing on the friendships formed through quilting, NQA (The National Quilting Association, Inc.) is sponsoring a Friendship Star block exchange/raffle and encouraging everyone to make a service quilt which includes at least one Friendship Star block. Details are on the NQA website:

Make every day a celebration of quilting. Cut the PB&J sandwiches you're making for the kids corner to corner and tell them they're eating Half-Square Triangles. Use your husband's dress shirt to "sleeve" your next quilt for hanging. Set your Nine Patch on the living room floor and walk around the block for exercise. Substitute quilting thread for dental floss. Get creative and I'll be here in your mailbox next time.

Please forward this newsletter to anyone you think might enjoy it. Just be sure to forward the whole entire thing and let them know that they can sign up for their very own at

Reprinting individual "articles" in your guild newsletter requires permission. Contact me.

Ami Simms

Jennie Sings
Ami's Workshops & Lectures
Quilty Food
Professional Tote
Sh eila's Stash
Clair e's Rag Fur Jacket
Margaret's Twisted Sisters
What Were They Thinking?
Bad New Airline Regulations
Duct Tape Quilt
Quilter's Access
Folding Shirts
Peek er Keepers
Ruler Holders
National Quilting Day
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