March 2006

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The Ami Simms Newsletter
March 2006
Copyright by Ami Simms

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I'm still recovering from January's newsletter. Thank you all for writing; I don't know when I got so many emails. Your kind words were most welcome. Mom has settled into the routine at the Alzheimer's care unit. Providing activities for us to do together keeps her "in the moment" and happy. I thank you for all the suggestions you sent. One of the more successful ventures was a $19.95 knitting machine. It takes both of us (me to thread the machine and guide the yarn; and Mom to turn the hand crank) but we have made three scarves so far. Mom also likes having her feet and hands massaged. She's also back to painting note cards. We paint several dozen at a time and spread them all over the common area to dry. Sometimes the other residents join in. One woman made a card that said, "Wet Paint."

Over $1700 is in the kitty for Alzheimer's research, mostly from Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts. Thank you quiltmakers and bidders! There are 27 quilts on the auction block right now, among them one made by Judy Mathieson, prize-winning quilter, author, and judge from Sebastopol, CA. To see what a "Slow Silent Auction" is all about, head over to:

Please remember this is ongoing. Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts are just little things. They don't take very long to make and there is still that great feeling of satisfaction in having FINISHED something! They can be any size up to 9" x 12". That means fabric post cards (4" x 6") and leftover blocks (9" x 9") and fabric postage stamps (1" x1") are fair game. I just made that last one up, but really, ANY size, ANY theme, ANY technique is welcome! There's all sorts of ideas and inspirations at:

To motivate everyone to participate I am most proud to announce that Bernina of America has donated TWO aurora 440QE sewing machines to be awarded for your participation. This is SO exciting I can hardly believe it. Stop reading right now and go take a look. I'll wait.

Mary Scott, owner of Bold Over Batiks!, has graciously donated a fabulous 2 and ½ yard batik from their Inspired Collection to be awarded to the maker of the quilt that earns the most money in the March 1st Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts auction. And yes, you CAN bid on your own quilt! Or just tell everyone you know to "bid that baby up!" Realizing that one of my quilts was top money earner last month, as much as I'm drooling over Inspired #2 (the actual piece that will be awarded), please know that I am ineligible.

Bold Over Batiks! is a rather unique supplier of specialty fabric. Each piece is made one-at-a-time, collaboration between Malaysian artists and Bold Over Batiks! To salivate over what you could be winning this month, please see Inspired #2 at:

To learn how these beautiful fabrics are made and to locate a retail source to purchase your own mouthwatering batik, visit

Angela McConnell in Claremore, OK is helping raise money for Alzheimer's research in a very unique way. She is sponsoring a fundraiser for candle lovers through her company, Love My Candles. For details, see:

I'll be in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan with the Mid-Michigan Quilt Guild on March 10th and 11th. Then I get to visit with the West Suburban Quilters Guild in Brookfield, WI. See:

Can't attend a presentation of mine because I'm not coming to your state? No worries. Put on your jammies, fire up your computer, and join me for a chat on Friday night, March 24th at 9 pm, eastern time at:

Pop in after you finish reading the newsletter to see how it works. It's like a telephone conversation that is typed in real time. Everyone's invited. Bring a friend. See you on March 24th. Questions welcome! (Think of a doozy!)

Apple Tree Quilts in Flushing, MI is hosting the first "Priority Day" to make Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts" for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. If you're in the neighborhood, join us on Saturday, March 25 from 1pm to 5pm for an informal afternoon of stitching. It's BYOM (bring your own machine) and supplies. I'll be there to give you ideas and cheerlead. Come pick through my scraps. Coffee and cookies will be provided. RSVP to Judie at or (810) 659-4190 by March 22 as space is limited. A $5 donation for the Alzheimer's Association is required. Can't come? Send the donation to me at 4206 Sheraton Drive, Flint, MI 48532 or to Apple Tree Quilts at 5269 McKinley Road, Flushing, MI 48433.

If your shop is hosting a Priority Day, let me know and I'll put it in the next newsletter and on my web page.

After decades of subliminal training by television programmers, I can only get out of my chair and head off to bed on the hour or the half hour. As soon as they start the next show, I become riveted to the chair as if there were a magnet in my butt. Try as I might, I can't escape.

I have grown accustomed to this idiocy. I check the clock, anticipate the impending ending, and as soon as the credits begin to roll I am released from their diabolical clutches. My thumb again becomes mobile and I can summon the strength to push the OFF button on the remote. My butt becomes lighter and I can break the magnetic force and heave it out of the recliner. I can go to bed. I can sleep. I am, once again, master of my own destiny. Except when I watch….

….Law & Order reruns on TNT. It's like a curse. Less than 2 seconds from the instant the first credits roll, The Voice intones: "In the criminal justice system…" and another show begins. Immediately. No commercials. That stupid announcer doesn't even take a breath. Somebody else in New York City bites the dust, and I’m hooked. Again. Still pondering the verdict from the last show, hand midway to the remote and one leg over the footrest, my body goes limp and I slump back into the chair. It doesn't even matter if I've seen the episode before (and I have) I can't seem to break away from the force field.

And they mock me. Ever notice the "music" when they change scenes? You all know it… helpless in my chair, they know they've got me where they want me and yet, they mock me. Two chords: dumb DUMB! That’s right . It's not "dee-da" or "dee-dee" or "laaaa-la-la." It's dumb DUMB! As in STUPID YOU FOR NOT GETTING OUT OF YOUR CHAIR!

There is one saving grace. You know Lt. Van Buren? I think she's a quilter. I read an interview with the actress, S. Epatha Merkerson, and she was pictured with a quilt top on her lap. Pretty cool, huh?

You've got to try piping on your next quilt. It is just too cool. It looks pretty frightening when you see it all done, but Susan Cleveland takes you step-by-step and even gives you a swell tool and some cording to practice with. I tried it; I LOVE IT! Take a look:

Recently a reader wrote in with this question:

Have you heard of this before? I'm nauseated after about a half hour of machine quilting. Now, I have a history of this. I do Dramamine less-drowsy formula for car trips, boat trips (no cruises, thank you) and plane trips, as well as IMax movies and skiing scenes on TV, but this week I've been doodle-quilting two 'Hugs and Kisses' quilt for my grandsons, each turning three very soon. I'm just curious to know if anyone else has this problem and what they do about it. I figured I could write to you, and you wouldn't think I was crazy.

Dear Reader:
Many of my quilts have made me nauseated, but it was just from looking at them, not quilting them. I would suspect you might be hyper-focusing, staring at the needle going up and down for long periods. Look up every few minutes and stretch your focal point to someplace off in the distance.

Wanna try some beading? Me too. Beading is new to me, but I am inspired. I'm gonna try it now that I have Mary Stori's Beading Buddy. I love it. It's a pocket-sized stitch index that gives you step-by-step instructions for 78 stitches! Full color throughout, you'll get a bunch of new ideas.

To purchase of an autographed copy of "All-in-One Beading Buddy" with a credit card, email (Put "Beading Buddy Order" in subject line.) This will generate a Pay Pal invoice of $19.95 ($16.95 + $3.00 shipping). Credit cards payments only are accepted on this secure site. The book will be shipped via USPS.

National Quilting Day is March 18, set aside to honor quilts and quiltmakers—past, present and future. If you'd like to commemorate the day by making a quilt, the National Quilting Association suggests you make and donate a baby quilt for the first baby born on March 18th at your local hospital. For more information see:

There is a new entry on the Watch Your Step page:

This is a question you'll definitely be asking after you see the new pictures here:

Larrianne shares her stash:

Charleen Madsen made a Dog-Yeared quilt:

…and three Rag Fur Jackets:

It's almost here, I know it is. That same beautiful Rag Fur Jacket you've been wearing over turtlenecks goes over tank tops and T-shirts too. Perfect for throwing over your shoulders in over-air conditioned restaurants…

Welcome spring and save $2.00 when you order a Rag Fur Jacket between now and March 15th. (If you make one, spring will come….) Hurry:

Find quilt shops and fabric shops all over the United States. It's the most up-to-date resource because YOU keep it current by posting the location of your favorite fabric finds. Special thanks to Cindy Jet and

For quilt shops see:

For fabric shops, see:

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:

Don't wait it won't last long….

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

Slow Silent Auction

Make A Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt

Bold Over Batiks! Prize

Candle Fundraiser

Ami's Teaching Schedule

Quilt Chat

Piping Hot Binding

Email Mary

National Quilt Day

Watch Your Step

What Were They THINKING?!

Larrianne's Stash

Charleen's Dog-Yeared Quilt

Charleen's Rag Fur Jackets

Save $2 on a Rag Fur Jacket

Find US Quilt Shops

Find US Fabric Stores

Fabric & Kit SALE

Request Permission to Reprint

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