March 2008

The Ami Simms Newsletter
March 2008
Copyright by Ami Simms

Thank goodness for Leap Year. You know what I was doing yesterday, don't you! Just to brag, this newsletter has made it out on time, on the first day of every month for the last 102 months in a row. That's more than 8 years! And yes, the first of every month STILL sneaks up on me.

Now I've got to get the dog to write his column on time. I tell you, it never ends. Thank goodness he works for kibble.

Madison T. Dog here. It is fun being famous. After I mentioned our Dog Dinners, sometimes called Dog Night Out, somebody wanted to know why the back seat in the car was missing, obviously a very careful reader.

Well Mom has a van and it has captain chairs in the middle and a bench seat with StupidHeadRests in the back. Mom has to back INTO the garage because she is a Simms. While they were somehow genetically programmed at birth to back cars into small spaces, this is a learned activity for Mom. She can only do it if the back bench seat is down AND if the middle captain chairs are down so she can see out the back window. She twists her head around like that scary little girl in that movie I'm not allowed to watch because it gives me nightmares. Cranked around like that, Mom squints her eyes, looks over the tops of her bifocals, and hardly ever hits anything important. (I had to say that because she's reading over my shoulder.) Let me put it this way, we don't park the bikes near Mom' side of the garage, if you know what I mean.

So back to the car seats. I am a 70-pound yellow dog and the car is my best thing. I love car travel, but I am not allowed on the seats. Mom says it's not safe, so I have to ride on the floor. I usually squeeze in between the two front seats so I can lay my head on the nearest thigh. I take turns, so all my people get a chance to love on my head. Since Mom keeps her car about as clean as her sewing room, I have to lay on anything left between the two front seats. In other words, don't use the tissue from the box in the car unless you toss the first few pieces or shake the fur off before you blow your nose. I also have to lay on The Club, Mom's purse, and assorted plastic bags of shopping things.

When Mom first got the car, she realized that the center seats come out. Right after that she realized that they don't go back in so easy. That was before I ever came to live with Mom and Dad. Mom figured that she liked the extra space for luggage. (That's what she told Dad.) Plus, that was one less headrest to have to look around.

So, the back seat is always down because it's just Mom and Dad and me and we have the StupidHeadReast issue. The middle seat behind the driver is gone, lost in the garage some place by now. And the other middle seat (behind the front passenger seat) is always folded down, which keeps the back wall of the garage from getting smacked. When I'm not between the two front buckets, I'm curled up on a special rug behind Mom's seat. Sometimes when Mom leaves me in the car to go get something (10 minutes only and she times it on her watch; 4 minutes in the summer) I warm the front passenger seat for her.

I hardly ever go in the way back, but I do like to sit on the edge of the folded down seat. There's about a 6 inch rise and I rest my rear on the seat with my front paws are on the floor, just like a person. This is one of my favorite positions. I do the same thing on stairs, butt on one step, front paws on the step below. That was probably more than you ever wanted to know about the seats in our car, except that when we go on vacation, Dad takes the other middle seat out and then I share the floor with all the suitcases. Maybe next time I'll tell you about the bikes and how Mom figured out how to get two full size bikes, a dog carrier, suitcases, most of my toys, and me INSIDE the car. She's not as dumb as she looks.

Before I sign of I wanted to share a video of a dog who looks just like me, but thinks he's John Travolta. My friend Nanette sent it to me. I hope Mom doesn't get any ideas.

Back to Mom…

It's always amazing to me where my ideas take me. My Dog-Yeared Calendar Quilt pattern was used (with permission) to create a quilt for the Humane Society. Erinn Williams did a great jog for a great cause.

The Illini Country Stitchers used my pattern for a Project Linus quilt and report in with the amount of money they made. See their quilt here.

And to think that I had a small paw in it! It warms the cockles of my heart!

I bet you thought I was just going to let that slide. Do you know if YOUR cockles are warm? Would you know where to even look for them, warm or cold? What are cockles, anyway?!

Please, allow me to introduce you to Michael Quinion, an author who writes on international English from a British viewpoint. That's what it says on his web page. I've never met him, but I like him already for wondering about this phrase. Read what he says about warm cockles.

How did I find this marvelous explanation? Did I google? NO! I GoodSearched! And if you GoodSearch your cockles will be toasty warm because you can earn money for your favorite charity by simply searching the Internet, a marvelous place to learn new things.

And, which charity should you GoodSearch for? Well, the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, of course. Head over the and type in "Alzheimer's Art...." and click VERIFY, and up will pop "Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (Burton, MI)." Until you clear the selection (don't tell me; I'll cry) every search you do through will earn the AAQI a penny. And it won't cost you a cent. You can even see how much we've earned so far. If everybody reading this GoodSearched just once today the AAQI would earn $960. Feeling all warm and fuzzy, aren't you!

Don't know what to search for? Try any noun that begins with the same letter as your first name.

I suppose I could GoodSearch for MESS, but I already know what that looks like. I spent 12 hours unearthing my sewing room, since I told you all that was my challenge for February. How bad was it? Check out the before and after photos .

All that stuff I cleaned out of my sewing room? It's mine now, but it could be yours. Oh yeah. There were things I hadn't touched since the LAST time I cleaned up, and I hate to tell you when THAT was. I found good things that I really can't hardly part with, but unless I find an extra 17 hours in every day, I'm just never going to get to them. It breaks my heart, but they gotta go. If you gotta get 'em, head over to my Garage Sale.

While I was in a cleaning mood, I finally pulled the trigger on my Teaching Studio. This is something that I have wanted to do for a long time and it is now all set up. All I need are a few students to give it a test drive. The first class will be on making String Quilts and will be held on Saturday, April 5th. Madison T. Dog will be my assistant, so if you're afraid of dogs, this isn't for you. Learn more here.

…come and take classes with me at the Machine Quilters' Expo in Manchester, NH from April 14 to 19, 2008.

Here are other venues where you'll find me.

Check out her first music video. It's guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Heck, you might even want to sing along!

Karen Griska has a new web site called I love it. For those of you who have taken my String Quilting workshop, we really take the easy way out. Karen's web site will show you the way it USED to be done. She's inspired me to create more do-das with JUST selvage.

Thanks to Sandy K. for sharing these quirky and fun web sites:

Test your aerial ability by examining satellite photos of famous places. Just to warn you, I got 15 correct out of 16, which just means I'm a good guesser. Try your luck at by clicking here.

Hollis Chatelain is one of my quilting heroes (heroines?) and she's just started writing a monthly newsletter. She's a quilter you'll want to know more about. Check out her latest issue.

Then, head over to her Guestbook page to sign up to receive your very own free copy emailed to you.

See the floor at Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria BC, thanks to Colleen Nicholls on the Watch Your Step page.

The "What Were They Thinking?!" page has a couple new entries.

Dirt Cheap Template Material is back, and there's a new reason to buy a rubber bobbin holder.

Don't forget my Garage Sale!

And, if everything quilty just blows your skirt, check out the new Napkin-Dispensing Quilt Holder!

Thanks to Joyce for sending this web site. Click here and you will be taken to a black page. Click your mouse anywhere and everywhere on the page to see what happens. Better yet, click and drag your mouse over the black page. Enjoy!

Thanks to Niki for sharing a silly web page that tests your reflexes with baa-ing sheep and a pretend tranquilizer shot launched by your mouse! No fooling! Click here.

  • There are 29 Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts up for auction on All profits fund Alzheimer's research. Please bid generously. (And bid often!)

  • "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece" will be displayed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa March 14-15.

  • The web page move still continues, but we are making progress. Please visit the new site to see what's going on and to sign up for the AAQI Update, another free newsletter like this one, so you'll hear all the news first.

You can link here without permission, but 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.

Full-spectrum lights (like OTT) are great for task lighting, especially at workshops where lighting isn't always the best. And yes, fabric does look best in natural light. BUT, unless you're going to replace all the lights in your house with full-spectrum bulbs, it might be best to select fabric for your quilts in light under which the completed quilts will be seen.

Have a great March,
Ami Simms
AmiSimms at